Depression is more than just occasionally feeling sad. Depression is actually a mental health condition – sometimes referred to as clinical depression or major depressive disorder – that deeply affects the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves. It goes beyond normal feelings of sadness and makes it difficult to maintain your personal and professional lives.
Sadness is normal, and everyone will feel it from time to time. Depression is when these feelings of sadness go above and beyond normal levels and make it difficult to function in everyday life.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression manifests differently in every person affected, and symptoms typically fall into two categories (emotional or physical), although many experience a combination of both.
- Crying easily
- Crying for no obvious reason
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Feelings of sadness or emotional numbness
- Loss of interest in things you enjoy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Appetite changes (eating too much or too little)
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Digestive problems or gastrointestinal issues
- Changes in sleep patterns (either sleeping too much or too little)
- Weight loss or weight gain
What is the difference between depression and sadness?
Lots of things in normal life can lead to a person feeling sad: the loss of someone you love, emergencies or disasters, or stressful and traumatic events in your personal or professional life.
Depression and sadness differ from each other in these key ways, per the American Psychological Association:
If you are experiencing sadness or grief, these feelings tend to come in waves and are intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. If you are experiencing depression, your overall mood is decreased for most of two weeks.
During periods of grief/sadness, self-esteem remains relatively unchanged. However, during periods of depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing replace your usual sense of self-esteem.
Why do people get depression?
Depression, like any other mental health condition, is caused by a complex mix of environmental and biological factors rather than one identifiable cause. This can include things like temperament, life experiences, and family history.
Other factors that can contribute to the development of depression include:
- Early childhood trauma
- Brain structure
- Medical history
- Substance abuse
- Stressful life events
How do you treat depression?
Despite its prevalence and the debilitating nature of its symptoms, depression is still treatable in many cases. You should feel no shame in seeking out treatment. After all, mental health is itself just a part of your larger overall health.
Fortunately, the future of depression treatment looks brighter now than it has ever before. Traditional treatments, like antidepressant medications, and innovative new techniques, like ketamine therapy, both present options for treatment and relief from your condition.
Contact us today to learn more about our innovative new treatment for depression.