Depression Treatment in Calgary

Depression Treatment in Calgary

If you or someone you love is depressed and seeking depression treatment in Calgary, we can help. The following page provides some general information about depression to help you get started, but please feel free to contact us for further information at the phone number above if you have questions or would like to book an appointment.

What is Depression?

One main difference between depression as a clinical disorder and the emotion of sadness that we all may feel from time to time, is that clinical depression involves pervasive changes in mood, thinking, social interaction and behavior that significantly impair a person’s day-to-day functioning and quality of life. At the core of these changes is either a pervasive feeling of sadness or "the blues" or a loss of interest and pleasure in normally enjoyable activities (or both).

A major depressive episode is a clinical term that describes a time-period when a person experiences a cluster of depression symptoms daily or nearly every day for at least two weeks or more. As stated before, these symptoms negatively impact one's functioning.

In addition, there are other, milder forms of depressive disorders that do not impair functioning as much but that still have a negative impact on a person's life.

Who Suffers from Depression?

Estimates indicate that 10-25% of women and 5-12% of men will experience an episode of clinical depression at some time in their lives. The risk is highest among men and women between the ages of 25 and 44.

Perhaps you are not experiencing depression at this moment yourself, but you may know someone who is. You may feel of its impact indirectly as you are concerned about that person and see them suffering firsthand. Your relationship with that individual may be negatively affected as well. In its impact on personal well-being and relationships, depression is a debilitating illness and can be potentially dangerous to the depressed person if left untreated.

How Can I Know If I Am Depressed?

If you suspect you or someone you care about is suffering from depression, here are some signs to look for: 

Changes in Mood

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, despair or "the blues"
  • Loss of pleasure in activities that you normally enjoy
  • Loss of motivation or interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness
  • Unreasonable or excessive guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Increased irritability

Changes in Thinking

  • A persistent pattern of pessimistic, self-critical, negative thinking
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Difficulty concentrating or "foggy thinking"
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Indecisiveness

Changes in Behavior

  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia, restless or disturbed sleep, or sleeping too much)
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Frequent crying

Change in Physiology

  • Changes in appetite (more or less than usual)
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches or chronic pain
  • Loss of libido
  • Constant fatigue

Often family and friends are the first ones to notice that something is wrong. It is not uncommon for a person to be depressed and not realize it because the changes are so gradual. This can create problems when a person's low mood has a significant, negative impact on close relationships and the depressed individual does not recognize that they are depressed. For this reason it is important to be open to the feedback of caring family members and seek help if you suspect you may be depressed.

How is Depression Treated?

The first priority in treatment of depression is to ensure safety. Suicidal ideation is a common symptom of depression, so reducing the risk of self-harm is essential.

The next priority is to assess and identify, where possible, the root causes of one's mood change and then create an action plan that will help alleviate these challenge areas. Such a plan can include the prudent use of medication—in more severe or protracted cases of depression—to help improve one’s mood and energy levels enough to complement other initiatives such as increasing activity levels and exercise, becoming aware of negative patterns of thinking and replacing negative thinking habits with more constructive thinking habits, processing grief and loss in the context of a supportive relationship, and decreasing isolation by building more connections with others.

Current thinking indicates that a combination of pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy works better than either strategy alone with moderate to severe depression.

How can counselling help with depression?

One of our qualified counsellors can work with you to provide a safe and trusting environment for healing to take place. Research on the therapeutic components of effective therapy indicates that some of the most important elements—as influential as the specific techniques and tools your therapist uses to treat depression—include the helping relationship itself that you develop with a caring and trusted professional who will listen to you carefully and provide guidance and support, and an environment that instills hope, or a positive expectancy.

Counselling can also help you to organize a plan that involves trying out different behaviors, practicing new ways of thinking, developing new perspectives, and making changes in how you relate to yourself and to others. Having a counsellor work with you can be like having your own coach / consultant / practitioner in your corner, helping you to clarify your goals, see the steps to take to reach your goals, avoid the pitfalls along the way and to use the personal strengths you have to enhance your recovery.

Recommended Reading

The Feeling Good Handbook

by David Burns

This book is a highly recommended self-help manual for overcoming depression and anxiety. It includes a section on improving communication in your relationships. Dr. Burns uses a cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment, focusing on changing patterns of thinking and taking positive behavioral steps to increase rewarding activities.

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Where Can I Get More Information?

The following links lead to online resources that may help further:

National Institute of Mental Health
An informative site on the topic of depression produced by the NIMH. Includes signs and symptoms, treatment options, depression in men, depression in women, and information about medications.   

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Update
A brochure produced by the AAMFT providing information on depression.

St. John's Wort
A very helpful website about St. John's Wort, a non-prescription, herbal remedy that has demonstrated efficacy on par with anti-depressant medications but with far fewer side-effects. In Germany, St. John's Wort has widespread use as the pharmacological treatment of choice for depression over prescription anti-depressants. There is also information on this site for loved ones seeking a better understanding of how to support a family member with depression.

To Book an Appointment

Just call us (403) 255-8577 or use our easy online scheduler here

If you have any questions or would like to contact us by email, you can complete a brief confidential contact form here. Once you submit the contact form, a Cobb & Associates intake staff member will respond as soon as possible.

The Calgary Couples Counselling Centre (a subsidiary of Cobb & Associates Inc.) is located in southeast Calgary (near Leons and Trail Appliances on 11th Street SE). Please click here for our full address and a map to our location. We are currently accepting new clients and warmly welcome self-referrals and referrals from physicians and other professionals.

We appreciate your interest in our services and hope this information has been helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.

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