Understanding Depression

One in five people will suffer from major depression during their lifetime, yet two thirds are not getting the help they need. Widespread myths and misinformation are partly to blame; but the public stigma is the main problem. Most won't even talk to a family member or friend about their illness, let alone a family doctor or mental health professional.

Mental health experts believe that much of the misinformation stems from the ambiguity of the term depression. "Depression" is used to describe everything from a sad mood, discouragement, heartbreak, mental and emotional fatigue, disappointment, PMS, and grief -- to clinical depression, a neurobiological disease of the brain.

Many people think that all depression is the same. They equate the normal sadness we all experience at one time or another with clinical depression, forming the attitude: “I was depressed, and I got over it. What’s the matter with you?"

Clinical depression is not the blues, sadness or grief. It is a biological brain disorder with complex and debilitating physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Depressive illness requires medication to restore brain function; delaying treatment can destroy brain cells.

The human brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells. It should come as no surprise that this complex, intricate organ is vulnerable to illness just like any other part of the body.
Read more about Clinical Depression and its causes and treatment

Most people with depressed moods do not have a clinical disorder. Brain function is normal and anti-depressant medication will not help and could worsen symptoms in the long term. Many things can cause non-clinical depressed moods -- everything from a major disappointment to hormone fluctuations and chronic stress.
Read more about non-clinical depression; the causes and recovery strategies

Depression has dozens of potential causes and a one-size-fits-all treatment approach not only doesn’t work, it is dangerous. Yet this is exactly the approach taken today towards depression.

To overcome depression, you must understand what caused it. It may be just one thing, such as a recent loss. Many physical disorders can cause depressed moods, including thyroid disease, infections, pernicious anemia, liver or kidney disease, nutritional deficiency, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses. Some people experience depressed mood as a side effect of certain medications, such as beta-blockers, high blood pressure drugs, some Parkinson's medications, calcium channel blockers, estrogens, and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety pills and sleeping medications). This is not a complete list. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking.

This website is designed to give you general information about the many types of depression; the possible causes and treatment. It should not be used to replace the advice of a medical doctor
Read full disclaimer

For easy navigation, DepressionFree.com divides depression into two main categories and numerous sub-categories. In real life, depression is complex and many factors can interact to cause depressed moods. You will get the most out of this site by perusing all the pages.

Includes information on: major depressive disorder, bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorders, and post-partum depression.

Includes information on depressed mood stemming from chronic stress and adrenal exhaustion, painful life events, childhood trauma, female hormones, mental and emotional habits, and lack of a life purpose..

Warning: If you are experiencing the symptoms of depressive illness, see your medical doctor for a complete examination. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency ward. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor or mental health professional.



 Mental Health News

CMHA Nation-wide Conference
The Canadian Mental Health Association national conference takes place October 22 - 24th 2014 at the Westin Calgary.
Theme: Strengthening Our Collective Voice
Register here

Neuroplasticity reduced in brains of people with depression
The brains of people with depression show a reduced ability to adapt to their environment, learning and memory. a unique study shows. This is one of the first objective tests to show that depression is linked to decreased neuroplasticity. The magnetic stimulation tests also showed the lesssened neuroplasticity was not related to how much effort the person made. Read more

Doctors urge mental health screenings with physical exams
Most people don't address mental health issues until they drastically interfere with their lives, says a new study. This could be avoided with regular screenings.
Read more - USA Today

Calgary Flames Hockey Coach talks about his battle with OCD and depression
Facing a losing battle with depression, OCD and heavy drinking, Clint Malarchuk put a bullet to his bed. Miraculously, he survivived. Today he tells his story to corporations and high schools. "What makes me any different than a diabetic or someone with high cholesterol or a heart condition. You need medication, you take it."
Read more - Calgary Sun

Canada launches wokplace standards for mental health and safety
The Mental Health Commission of Canada released a standardized tool to help Canadian companies promote mental health, reduce stigma and support employees dealing with mental illness.
Read more

Magnetic helmet "rewires" the brain
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a helmet using magnets to treat depression in patients who have failed to respond to antidepressant medications.
Read more

Toronto's CAMH launches Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention
A $7.2 million donation from the Temerty Family Foundation will fund research into promising new treatments for persistent and severe mental illness, including Canada's first clinic using Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST). Read more

Calgary researchers could help depression sufferers get well sooner
A new pilot project at Foothills Medical Centre and the University of Calgary could one day help people with major depression get well sooner. The study will use blood and urine tests and brain scans to determine if there is a biological marker that will help selecting the most effective medication. Read more


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