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3 Minutes

When Should I Get Help For Depression?

Learn when to seek help for depression, recognize its symptoms, and explore various treatment options. Understand the difference between normal sadness and clinical depression, and take the first step towards recovery with professional mental health support.
Animated vector of a mother counselling a depressed daughter
Written by
Bloom Clinical Care Counselling and Therapy Services
January 24, 2023

Major negative life events, loss of a loved one, or financial hardships are some of many examples which can cause us to experience a period of occasional sadness. Some may deal with this by sleeping in more than usual and not leaving their beds, while others may become noticeably distant in present moments. After a short period of time, we often start bouncing back to our everyday lives and slowly get back into our normal routines. Being sad and upset due to such challenges is natural and a part of normal human behavior. 

But if you are unable to recover from these negative emotions after a couple of weeks, there may be a possibility that you are suffering from depression and should consider seeking professional mental health support.

What Is Depression? 

While occasional feelings of sadness are normal, there is a big difference between feeling sad and experiencing clinical depression. It is not just an “occasional period of sadness” but instead it is a diagnosable and very commonly treatable medical illness. The American Psychiatry Association categorizes and defines depression as a mood disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Cognitive behaviour therapy also works with the model of affect (how you feel), behaviour (how you act) and cognition (how you think). Depression may result from complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. An individual who is genetically predisposed to depression may be at a higher risk.

In fact, depression is so common that 1 in 8 Canadians experience depression at some point in their lives. The symptoms of depression vary amongst each individual and can be caused by a range of factors such as medical issues, social challenges, major life events, or substance abuse just to name a few. Issues like cancer, chronic pain, thyroid, heart disease, lupus, diabetes, HIV, multiple sclerosis, vitamin B12 deficiency, financial difficulties, low self esteem, difficulties at work, challenges in personal relationships, illness of loved ones, grief and bereavement, hormonal changes from giving birth (postpartum depression) or around menopause or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during winter may contribute to the development of major depression. 

While the presenting issues may vary on an individual basis, it should be noted that if you are suffering from depression, you cannot simply “wait it out” or “snap out of it”. Just like a cough or cold, depression is an illness and should be treated as such. Help from mental health professionals such as Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist or Physicians is available. 

Symptoms Of Depression

Mood disorders such as clinical depression can present themselves in numerous ways on an individual basis. But there are quite a few symptoms which have been commonly reported across a wide range of individuals experiencing depression. These include but are not limited to: 

  1. Depressed mood most of the day
  2. Diminished interest in all pleasurable activities most of the time 
  3. Drastic physical changes such as rapid weight loss or weight gain 
  4. Significant changes in eating patterns, increased or decreased appetite 
  5. Slowing down of thought or decrease in physical activity noticeable by others
  6. Feeling fatigue, loss of energy, tired, worn out, exhausted every day 
  7. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or decrease in self esteem 
  8. Decrease in concentration, focus, or thinking 
  9. Recurring thoughts of self harm, suicidal ideations, or death

In a clinical setting, a mental health professional will generally use a guideline set out by the American Psychiatric Association called DSM-5 to determine if a diagnosis of depression is appropriate. If you can relate to five or more of the symptoms, there is a chance that you or someone you know may be depressed and should seek help from a mental health professional immediately.

Treatments for Depression

Depression is also one of the most commonly treatable mental illnesses. Across all cases of depression, 80% to 90% of people respond well to treatments when implemented by an appropriately licensed professional. Nonetheless, the treatment approach and methodologies implemented varies per person. While depression can be caused by a plethora of social issues, other factors such as genetics, physical health, or the involvement of substance abuse can be the underlying factors. Depending on your situation, you might opt to seek help from Social Workers, Medical Physicians, Psychologists, Psychotherapists or a combination of appropriate professionals. 

Some common treatments for mild to moderate symptoms of depression are the following or any combination just to name a few:

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  2. Interpersonal Therapy
  3. Self Help and Coping Skills

It is important to understand that the most important thing to do is to seek help early. This can be done by approaching any mental health professional. Help is available and there is always hope. 

We May be Able To Help You

At Bloom Clinical Care Counseling and Therapy Services, we are Social Workers registered with the OCSWSSW. We have  25+ years of experience in supporting people experiencing grief & bereavement, depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, low self-esteem, stress, relationship issues and other mental health challenges. We do not require any referrals and are always welcoming new clients.

If you are looking for therapists near you in Toronto, Bloom Clinical Care is located at 1200 Markham Road, Suite 306C, M1H 3C3. We also offer virtual therapy options by phone or video call across Ontario. Help is available, and we may be able to help

Struggling with you mental health? We may be able to help. Book a free consultation today.
Disclaimer: This article is solely intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as professional advice. The content of this article should not be used as a substitution to therapy, counselling, medical attention, or any kind of professional help. The author and Bloom Clinical Care Counseling and Therapy services strongly encourages readers to seek guidance from appropriate professionals if they are in need of assistance.

Let us help you, help yourself.