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How to cope with Depression | Vancouver TherapyFeb 7, 2024

What are the 4 levels of depression?

The way people experience depression symptoms can vary. Your symptoms may differ from those of someone else. The severity of symptoms can indicate the depression stage.

Depression is common and contributes to disability worldwide. An estimated 300 million people around the globe live with depressive symptoms.

Some researchers believe that staging mental health conditions like depression can protect against a one-size-fits-all approach that may result in undertreating or overtreating some individuals. This idea categorizes depression into four stages.


The wellness stage is without sustained emotional upset. Interventions in this stage involve nurturing life skills that promote positive mental health to prevent the onset of depression.


In the distress phase, you might experience mild or moderate emotional upset. The duration of these episodes is relatively short. Peer support and self-care are the primary interventions for this stage.

Depressive disorder

If emotionally distressing experiences last several weeks and are severe enough to impair regular functioning, this is the depressive disorder stage.

Healthcare therapy, with the goal of remission and recovery.

Refractory or recurrent depressive disorder

The refractory or recurrent stage features a depressive disorder that’s resistant to treatment or prone to relapsing.

The treatment goal is stabilization, usually attempted with mental health care supports like additional medications and intensive psychosocial interventions.

What is the root cause of depression?

There’s no single cause of depression. It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers.

For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy, and job or money worries, can be the cause.

Different causes can often combine to trigger depression. For example, you may feel low after being ill and then experience a traumatic event, such as a bereavement, which brings on depression.

People often talk about a “downward spiral” of events that leads to depression. For example, if your relationship with your partner breaks down, you’re likely to feel low, you may stop seeing friends and family and you may start drinking more. All of this can make you feel worse and trigger depression.

Some studies have also suggested that you’re more likely to get depression as you get older and that it’s more common in people who live in difficult social and economic circumstances.

It’s thought that your chance of getting severe depression may be partly affected by the genes you inherit from your parents.

Although depression may occur only once in your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

What are the symptoms of depression?

Although depression may occur only once in your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day, and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest in or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy make even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

How do we help you cope with depression?

R-MEDY will examine the underlying causes of your depression to provide alternative holistic therapies in an attempt to improve your mood without relying solely on medication. With comprehensive testing through a mental health evaluation, we will work with you to heal holistically from the inside out.

The following tips can also help you cope with depression:

Do things that make you feel good

To overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Get moving

When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighter—and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re well.

Support your health by eating and sleeping

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood. This includes caffeine, alcohol, and processed food with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (found in some packaged food and cured meats).

If you’ve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better! Feel free to have a conversation with one of our specialized team!