Men with depression typically have a higher rate of feeling irritable, angry and discouraged.– Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
When feelings of sadness, or feeling ‘down’ last more than a few weeks, and start to impact your daily life, it may be a sign of depression. It can lead to feeling irritated, hopeless or worthless, and affect energy, sleep, appetite, and relationships.
Depression is a mood disorder that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, stress from life-changing events, serious illness, substance use, and even certain medications. Depression can range from moderate (having a significant impact on daily life) to severe (making daily life almost impossible).
Currently, men are less likely to seek help for depression, and 3x more likely to die from suicide but it does not have to be this way. Reaching out for help can make a difference.
Need help now?
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 1 (833) 456-4566 toll-free (In QC: 1-866-277-3553), 24/7 or visit Talk Suicide.
signs & symptoms
The most common symptoms of depression are feeling sad, down, or flat for periods that last more than a couple of weeks and impact your life at work, home or in social situations.
Other symptoms of depression may include:
- Loss of interest in work, hobbies, people or sex
- Overly negative thinking
- Feeling excessively guilty, irritable or angry
- Sense of worthlessness or hopeless
- Sleep difficulties
- Low energy
- Changes in appetite
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Crying easily, or feeling like crying but not being able to
- Thoughts of suicide (which should always be taken seriously)
Not feeling like yourself? Visit MindFit Toolkit and take the free self-assessment to help identify signs and symptoms of anxiety or depression that may be impacting your life.
If you are concerned about someone you know, start a conversation. Check-in and let them know you’re there.
There is no single cause of depression. It can affect anybody, at any time, and at any age.
Common triggers of depression include major stressors or life changes like the loss of a loved one, the onset of illness, or a big job move.
Other potential triggers of depression can include:
- Genetic or family history of depression
- Psychological or emotional vulnerability to depression
- Biological factors such as imbalances in brain chemistry and in the endocrine/immune systems
- Dealing with a long-term illness
- Substances such as drugs and alcohol
- Certain medications
- Physical inactivity
Depression is diagnosed by a licensed healthcare practitioner based on an assessment of your current health, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The practitioner may consider your family and physical health history, previous concerns with mental health, medications and other potential risk factors.
Mind Your Thinking
Reality check your thinking so that overly negative thought patterns do not become a habit. Your mindset matters and can affect your health. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend or how your favourite coach or teacher would talk to you.
Set “SMART” Goals
Achieving goals can boost your mood. Setting goals that are unrealistic can lower your mood and sense of self-efficacy. Set “SMART” goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. If you are having trouble meeting your goals, try making them smaller or asking for help. Small steps can lead to big change.
Do Things on Purpose
Find activities that give you a sense of meaning. Do not avoid all uncomfortable situations. You can do hard things.
Social connection is an important contributor to both mental and physical health. Research shows that friendships can help you live longer. While meeting the need for connection is different for everyone, the health benefits are universal. Maintaining or building meaningful social connections can help provide support if you’re feeling depressed.
81% of Canadian men believe physical activity has a positive effect on their mental health. Physical activity triggers feel-good endorphins, while reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression. Research shows that 30 minutes of moderately intense activity 2-3 times per week can help if you keep it up for at least 9 weeks. Make moving your body a habit. Remember, any activity is better than none.
Learn what you can do to improve your sleep: avoid screen-time one hour before bed, have a consistent wake time, and reduce your caffeine intake. Manage your worries during the day so your thoughts don’t keep you up at night. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
Choose whole foods more often like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These foods are packed with vitamins and nutrients essential for brain health, and can boost your energy and overall sense of wellness.
Many people who experience depression may turn to alcohol for comfort or fun. However, alcohol is a depressant drug. It slows down parts of your brain involved in thinking, behaving, and even breathing. Long-term overuse of alcohol can trigger or worsen symptoms. Any reduction in alcohol use is beneficial for your physical and mental health.
There are a number of science-backed treatments available for depression. These may include psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and medications prescribed by a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Educating yourself, making healthy lifestyle changes and learning self-help skills can also have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Support groups can also be helpful.
Frequently asked Questions
Can depression run in the family?
Yes, depression can be triggered by a genetic predisposition or a family history of the condition.
Can certain medications cause depression?
Depression can be a side effect of certain medications. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you are concerned about any of your medications or the possible side effects.
Last updated: Oct 13, 2023
Disclaimer: This resource is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide diagnosis or be a substitute for professional medical advice from a healthcare practitioner. You should not use the information provided for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical or health problem, promptly consult your healthcare practitioner.