Sadness versus Depression: When to consult a psychologist?

Published 3 weeks ago par Dr. Yaniv Benzimra , Psychologist

Knowing when to consult a mental health professional can help address feelings having the blues before they escalate into clinical depression.

Signs Indicating the Need to Consult

Here are some signs indicating it might be time to seek help from a mental health professional or a physician:

  • Duration and Severity: If feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or low mood persist for several weeks (at least for two weeks) and significantly interfere with your daily life.
  • Impact on Functioning: If you find that your mood is affecting your ability to carry out daily tasks, maintain relationships, or perform at work or school.
  • Changes in Behavior: Noticeable changes in behavior, such as withdrawing from social activities, neglecting personal hygiene, or engaging in substance abuse.
  • Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms like changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or unexplained aches and pains that accompany feelings of sadness.
  • Thoughts of Self-Harm or Suicide: If you experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or if you know someone who does, it's crucial to seek help immediately. Contact a mental health hotline, go to the nearest emergency room, or reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.

Additional Cases Requiring Psychological Support

In addition, we recommend that you seek mental health support if:

  • Unresolved Grief: If you're experiencing prolonged grief following a significant loss or trauma, professional counseling can help you work through your emotions and develop coping strategies.
  • Lack of Improvement: If self-help strategies, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones, haven't improved your mood or mental well-being, seeking professional guidance may be necessary.
  • Concerns from Others: If friends, family members, or colleagues express concern about your well-being or notice changes in your behavior or mood, it's essential to take their observations seriously and consider seeking professional help.

Statistics and Importance of Consulting

Of interest, according to previous studies and data from organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Statistics Canada, depression (aka Major Depressive Disorder) affects a significant portion of the Canadian population. Estimates suggest that approximately 5% to 8% of Canadians experience a major depressive episode in any given year, and about 11% to 12% of Canadians will experience depression at some point in their lives. It's important to note that these statistics can vary based on factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, and region. Additionally, mental health conditions like depression are often underreported due to stigma, lack of awareness, and barriers to accessing mental health care.

Here at Y2 Consulting Psychologists, an analysis of several thousand of our clients reveals that a substantial percentage, over 14%, identify symptoms of depression as the primary or secondary reason for which they are seeking psychological support (counselling or psychotherapy).

Conclusion

Remember, seeking help for mental health concerns is a sign of strength, not weakness. A mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis, offer support, and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you cope with your emotions and improve your overall well-being.

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  • About the author

    Dr. Yaniv Benzimra

    Dr. Yaniv Benzimra, Psychologist

    A managing partner with the Y2 Consulting Psychologists, Dr. Yaniv M. Benzimra holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Ottawa . His doctoral thesis was related to psychological... More

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