Depression 101

Depression: Definitions and diagnoses


Ask Dr. Goldbloom: Depression (2:48)

Dr. David Goldbloom talks about depression, including the definition, the prevalence, the experience, possible treatments and where to get help.

I'm Dr. David Goldbloom, a psychiatrist and senior medical advisor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and we're here today to talk about depression, a common problem that affects one in ten men and one in five women over the course of their lives. Depression is a condition that's very different than simply feeling sad, low or blue. It's a recognized clinical disorder with a whole range of signs and symptoms that allow us to make the diagnosis of depression as an illness. Depression, as a clinical disorder, is something more sustained and more broad. Yes, there's an element of having a low mood, but for many people with depression, that low mood is a sense of numbness or a lack of reactivity to the things that normally bring us pleasure. There are classic disturbances in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, memory, motivation, decision making and the ability to experience pleasure that are characteristic of the clinical disorder that it is depression.

The first step in the treatment of depression is making sure that that's in fact the diagnosis. So, in other words, a careful and thorough assessment to determine that depression is, indeed, the problem at hand. But if the depression diagnosis is confirmed, then fortunately, we have a variety of treatments that can be helpful. These include various types of counselling or psychotherapy, as well as medications to relieve the symptoms of depression. But for those who seek help, the commonest first stop is the family doctor's office, and that's, indeed, a good place to start in terms of the necessary first step of a careful assessment to determine whether depression, indeed, is the problem.

If you're struggling with depression, or you think that you might be, don't suffer in silence. Go see your family doctor. And if you want information about resources available in your community, call ConnexOntario. It's a government service that's available 24/7. I'm David Goldbloom.

Depression 101 © , CAMH.