Thinking of suicide or worried about someone you know? Call or text 9-8-8, toll-free, anytime, for support.

You are currently on the:

National Site

Visit our provincial websites

On Depression

Many people still think that depression is a weakness of character that you can simply shake off with a bit of willpower. In reality, science has proven that depression is a medical illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

When the levels of certain brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) are not what they should be, symptoms of depression may develop.  We do not know exactly why the imbalance occurs, but we do know that restoring that balance alleviates the symptoms of depression.

There are many types of depression, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe (e.g. seasonal affective disorder, major depressive disorder).

How is depression treated?

Treatments vary and are individualized to treat the patient’s specific symptoms. Most patients benefit from non-pharmacological measures like regular physical activity, stress management, good sleep habits, and counselling.

Drug therapy is sometimes necessary to recover. When choosing an antidepressant, the physician considers several factors, such as which symptoms most disrupt the patient’s life. For example, for someone who has difficulty sleeping, the doctor may choose a product that promotes sleep.

Depending on the individual case, treatment can last several months to several years. In some cases, lifelong therapy may be necessary. It is important never to stop the treatment without first consulting your physician or pharmacist.

What roles do pharmacists play in the treatment of depression?

Pharmacists are medication experts who make sure the treatment is tailored to your needs, for example by checking that there are no interactions with other drugs (prescription or non-prescription) or natural health products being used.

They will explain how and when to take the medication, and how long it might take before there is an improvement in symptoms. They will also discuss treatment expectations with the patient, making sure everybody is on the same page.

Pharmacists also keep tabs on the treatment, making sure that it is well tolerated and reaching its goals.  If questions or difficulties arise (e.g. side effects), pharmacists are there to offer guidance and solutions, in collaboration with the physician, when required.

Why you should see a Medicine Shoppe Pharmacist

Medicine Shoppe pharmacies are smaller establishments with a more intimate setting. They are designed so patients can talk privately with the pharmacist when needed in an environment that feels safe.

The smaller setting also means that our pharmacists can take the time to really know you, and thus provide personalized care and advice.

When you step into one of our pharmacies, you will find trusted, knowledgeable health professionals committed to helping you regain your health!