Sadness is a necessary human emotion, one that is an inescapable part of the human experience. Depression, on the other hand, is when these feelings of sadness last longer and cut deeper than normal levels. It can make it difficult or even impossible to function in your everyday life.
Sometimes, the difference between sadness and clinical depression is not always so easy to spot. Read more to learn about how you can tell if what you are experiencing is indeed depression.
What is the difference between depression and sadness?
There are lots of things that can create feelings of sadness in our lives – the loss of a loved one, emergencies or disasters, or stressful events in your professional life.
Depression and sadness differ from each other in these specific 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 more than 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.
How do you know if you have depression?
The only way to be sure is to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. There are some resources you can take advantage of at home to learn more about the condition and compare it with your own symptoms, however.
The symptoms of depression typically include the following:
- Feelings of sadness
- Mood swings
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Decreased appetite
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless
- Feelings of low self-esteem
- Suicidal ideation
You have to have some of these symptoms for at least two weeks for them to be considered signs of clinical depression. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you should reach out for medical help or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
What causes depression?
Depression, like any other mental health condition, cannot be traced back to a single cause. It is instead the result of a complex of environmental and biological factors. These factors include things like overall temperament, life experiences, and past family history with depression or other mood disorders.
Other factors that can cause depression include the following:
- Family history
- Early childhood trauma
- Brain structure
- Medical history
- Substance abuse
- Stressful life events
What can you do to treat depression?
Depression only gets worse over time if you do not find treatment. Just as there is no shame in treating a physical condition, there should be no shame in seeking treatment for a mental health condition.
Fortunately, the future of depression treatment looks more optimistic now than it has ever before. Traditional treatments, like antidepressant medications, and innovative new techniques, like ketamine infusion therapy, both present options for treatment and relief from your condition.
Contact us today to find out if this innovative new treatment is right for you.