Depression does not affect only adults. The pressures of school and growing up can be overwhelming and difficult for children to cope with successfully. Depression in children can lead to loss of appetite, aches and pains, and lack of energy.
One of Canada’s most common illnesses is also the least understood. Everyone feels “blue” or sad from time to time. It’s a normal life experience. But when these emotions increase in intensity, persist for more than a few weeks, and start to interfere with a person’s life, it may signal depression. No amount of “cheering up” can make the depression go away; no amount of exercise, vitamins or vacation can make it disappear. That’s because depression is an illness, not a weakness.
Mood disorders are conditions that cause people to feel intense, prolonged emotions that negatively affect their mental well-being, physical health, relationships and behaviour. Almost 10 per cent of Canadians experience a mood disorder at some point in their lives. While we can all have brief episodes of “highs” and “lows”, we generally do not experience extreme, extended swings in our emotions. An internal sense of control tends to moderate big mood swings and stabilize our ups and downs.
For every woman, having a baby is a challenging time, both physically and emotionally. It is natural for many new mothers to have mood swings after delivery, feeling joyful one minute and depressed the next. These feelings are sometimes known as the “baby blues”, and often go away within 10 days of delivery. However, some women may experience a deep and ongoing depression which lasts much longer. This is called postpartum depression.