Okanagan-Shuswap Depression: More than sadness

(NC)-Everyone experiences sadness at some point in their lives, but for the estimated three million Canadians that will experience depression in their lifetime, it's more than just a bad case of the blues.

Depression is a common and serious illness that affects more than just your emotional state. The functional symptoms of depression - including difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and detachment from life - can have a devastating impact on relationships and work performance.

"My depression was affecting my ability to work. I would procrastinate, avoid making phone calls or fall asleep at my desk," said Laura Smith, a Canadian living with depression. "I had no motivation. Even though I knew what I wanted to do, it seemed impossible to do it."

A recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing revealed that Canadians with depression often allow the disabling functional symptoms of their disease to take a backseat to discussion around emotional symptoms during patient-physician interactions. Emotional symptoms can include feelings of sadness, guilt, helplessness and worthlessness.

"Depression is more than feeling sad - it can affect how people are able to function in their everyday lives," says Dr. Jeff Habert, a family physician who has been treating patients with depression for more than 20 years. "We need to focus on addressing functional symptoms so Canadians can get back to living active and productive lives."

No one treatment works for everyone, but there are different options available. Treatments can include psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, peer-run support groups and medication. Antidepressants are prescription drugs designed to relieve the symptoms of depression. Treating the emotional, physical and functional symptoms of major depression can help people successfully return to leading active and productive lives.

By proactively discussing the impact depression is having on one's ability to handle responsibilities at home and at work, Canadians can more effectively partner with healthcare professionals to ensure the best treatment and care.


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