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Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most common mood disorder and is now the leading cause of disability in Canada. Depression significantly disrupts people’s ability to function at work or causes them to withdraw from their community, family, and friends. Without the right treatment, symptoms can last for months or even years, causing needless suffering.

Depression is characterized by two or more weeks of hopelessness or irritability, decreased interest in usual activities, and other symptoms. Most people with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience their first episode in their mid-20s, although younger people are beginning to report depressive symptoms more frequently than in the past. The earlier depression sets in, the more persistent and severe it tends to be in adulthood.

Causes of Depression

The causes of depression are relatively well understood and it is thought to result from a combination of genetic factors, chemical imbalances in the brain, and stressful life events, such as trauma, losing a job, divorce, or grief and loss. Depression is more prevalent among people with chronic physical health problems such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Also, depression is often concurrent with anxiety. Approximately 50 percent of adults who have depressive symptoms also have symptoms of anxiety, such as fearfulness, persistent worry, heart palpitations, and insomnia.

 

We know that most people with depression do not get the help that they need to achieve and maintain a significant recovery. Depression responds well to evidence-based treatment together with long-term follow-up and management. Depression is generally considered a chronic mental health disorder that requires the appropriate clinical expertise, experience, and on-going support for patients to make and maintain significant gains towards recovery.