There's been a focus on clinical depression lately, especially after the death by suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams in August. But this coverage also highlights how many of its symptoms aren't always obvious.
Clinical depression is defined by the Mayo Clinic as having five or more of the symptoms of depression, including depressed mood and appetite changes, nearly every day over two weeks.
Depression can occur at any age and affects both men and women, says Dr. Joe Taravella, a psychologist and the supervisor of Rusk’s Pediatric Psychology Service at NYU-Langone Medical Center in New York.
“Although some of the symptoms of depression are the same for men and women, men who are depressed typically experience higher rates of externalizing behaviours and symptoms," he says. "These include anger, aggression, risk taking, substance abuse, and immersing themselves in work. Women, on the other hand, tend more often to show internalizing behaviours like self blame, feelings of sadness and worthlessness, conflict avoidance, and trouble setting boundaries."
And while women are more likely to experience depression during their lifetime (by 70 per cent) Taravella says more women attempt suicide, but more men die of suicide. In Canada, 3,728 people died by suicide in 2011, according to Statistics Canada, and 2,781 of those deaths were in men.
If you suspect that you or someone close to you has depression, here are some valuable resources:
Your family doctor or general practitioner: Your regular healthcare professional can help you begin treatment by prescribing medication and referring you to specialists.
Canadian Mental Health Association: Contact your local branch for information on resources in your community.
Crisis lines: Here is a list of crisis lines across the country, including ones aimed at children, teens, Aboriginal Canadians and seniors.
911 or your local emergency room: If you are in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek help. Call 911 or go to the ER.
Here are 15 things you should know about the symptoms of clinical depression, including ones that you may not expect.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated Robin Williams passed away in September.