The terms “sadness” and “depression” are often used interchangeably. However, while sadness is an emotion, depression is a clinically recognized mental health disorder. Although feeling sad can be a symptom of depression, individuals living with depression experience symptoms besides brief periods of sadness. We’re going to cover the symptoms of depression and how they differ from regular feelings of sadness.
The Triggers Of Depression
When a loved one passes, a favorite neighbor moves away, or an ice cream shop discontinues your favorite flavor, individuals may experience sadness. These uncomfortable feelings are a natural reaction to an unfavorable event.
A person who is feeling sad may cry, vent to a friend, or do an activity they enjoy. Afterward, they often find their sadness has dissipated or at least decreased.
Depression, on the other hand, doesn’t always have a trigger. Individuals living with depression may feel sad even after they receive a promotion at work, spend a pleasant day with loved ones, or eat their favorite meal. Sadness related to depression exists despite life events.
With that said, certain events can trigger depressive episodes. Feelings of sadness and grief after a loss can transform into depression. However, if this happens, the individual typically feels low about more than just the triggering event.
According to the DSM-5, symptoms of depression must occur most of the day for at least two weeks. Therefore, if a person is feeling sad for one day and fine the next two, they are likely not experiencing depression. Similarly, if an individual is sad for a few minutes or even an hour each day but happy the rest of the day, they are not living with depression.
While sadness can be a symptom of depression, it’s not the only one. Depression is a complex mental illness characterized by numerous symptoms, and these differ from individual to individual and even from depressive episode to depressive episode.
For someone to be diagnosed with depression, they must be experiencing a depressed mood or a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy for at least two weeks. In addition to exhibiting at least one of these two symptoms, an individual must also exhibit at least four of the following symptoms.
Significant weight loss or gain, or a large decrease or increase in appetite
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy, increased fatigue, or an increase in the time it takes to complete tasks
Changes in purposeless physical activity (such as hand wringing or pacing); or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
Cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
*Suicidal thoughts or intentions
*If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 988, and is available 24/7.
When To Seek Help
If you are experiencing intense feelings of sadness or have lost interest in activities you once enjoyed, you may want to seek professional help. This is especially true if you are facing difficulties with fulfilling responsibilities such as work, taking care of yourself, and maintaining relationships.
A psychologist or psychiatrist will be able to diagnose any mental illnesses you may be living with. At this point, you can begin to seek appropriate treatment. While you can continue working with a psychologist or psychiatrist, other options exist.
Types Of Treatment
Depression is a serious mental illness that can warrant professional treatment. While living with depression may make it seem like your symptoms will never change, help is out there, and it is possible to learn how to manage symptoms of depression.
One type of treatment for depression is psychotherapy. This involves talking with a licensed professional to change thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown that psychotherapy methods including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and supportive therapy can lead to reduced symptoms of depression. A licensed therapist can help you determine which treatment approach is best for you.
Medication may also be an effective form of treatment for depression. However, it’s important to note the power of combining therapy with medication. A review of 115 studies found that combining cognitive behavioral therapy with pharmacology provided better results than pharmacology alone. Additionally, combining therapy with medication decreased the likelihood that an individual would experience a relapse of symptoms.
Connect With An Online Therapist
While therapy is an effective way to manage the symptoms of depression, these same symptoms can make it difficult to seek treatment. A lack of energy may make it difficult to leave the house and trouble thinking and remembering can make it difficult to arrive at appointments on time. Online therapy removes some of these hurdles by allowing you to connect with a therapist from anywhere with a stable internet connection.
Online therapy has also been shown to offer results that are similar to those that come with in-person therapy. A recent literature review looked at 17 separate studies that compared online CBT with in-person CBT. Results showed that online CBT was more effective than traditional CBT at reducing depression symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the cause of a feeling of depression in human beings?
Depression can be caused by several different factors and the signs and symptoms of depression can look different from person to person. Mental illness can have several different causes and depression symptoms vary depending on the specific cause of an individual’s depression, and can even be caused by factors such as substance abuse. For perspective, depression can be a seasonal affective disorder that only occurs every so often due to the time of year or a new place, but it can also have roots in behavioral health. The largest causes of major depression and symptoms of depression are typically abuse, age, medications, conflict, death, genes, and major life events. Health conditions and mental health issues can arise in anybody, as can behavioral health issues, and any life event can play a role in a person developing depression symptoms. Seek out treatment services or major depression support groups that can help with depression symptoms such as substance abuse, mental health or mental illness challenges, and more while teaching beneficial health information.
What are the 5 signs of mental illness?
While the signs of mental illness can vary from person to person, the most common signs are excessive paranoia or anxiety, long-lasting sadness or irritability, extreme mood changes, major depression or symptoms of depression, social withdrawal, and dramatic changes in sleeping or eating patterns. With that said, there are other types of signs such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, behavioral health changes, development of eating disorders, and more. Mental health and mental illness challenges can affect anyone, but treatment services can help with different types of depression and mental illness. If you believe you are seeing the signs and symptoms of living with one of the types of depression, such as postpartum depression, substance abuse, behavioral health issues, or another mental illness, seek treatment services as soon as possible that can help you overcome these challenges and fix any behavioral health challenges. If you or someone you know is living with thoughts of suicide, reach out to the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
What are the signs of a mental breakdown?
A mental breakdown is a term used to describe a period of intense mental distress and decline of mental health that impacts an individual’s ability to function in everyday life through behavioral health issues. As with types of depression, the signs and symptoms of a mental breakdown can vary from person to person, but the most common is depression symptoms, substance abuse, behavioral health changes, insomnia, hallucinations, postpartum depression, paranoia, extreme mood swings, and panic attacks. If you believe you or someone you know is experiencing a mental breakdown, symptoms of depression, mental health or mental illness problems, substance abuse issues, or behavioral health changes, seek treatment services and find support groups to help learn health information on mental illness.
What is a psychotic break?
A psychotic break is a mental illness where a person loses contact with reality and maybe hear, tasting, smelling, or feeling something that is not there. Side effects of a psychotic break can be weight gain, symptoms of depression, postpartum depression, substance abuse, behavioral health changes, bipolar disorder, and other mental illness or mental health concerns. Psychosis can look different, but try to identify it based on difficulty sleeping, seeing shadows or flashes of light, hearing ringing or voices, depression symptoms, and smelling or tasting things others cannot see. Seek treatment services and health care advice from a health professional who can help a person overcome this challenging situation and any behavioral health changes that may have occurred. If you or someone you know is living with thoughts of suicide, reach out to the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
How do I know if I’m bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness and behavioral health form of depression that can affect anybody and result in significant challenges such as substance abuse. The symptoms of depression or the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can look different from person to person. If you have developed the seasonal affective disorder, weight gain or loss, substance abuse problems, mental illness or mental health challenges, cannot sleep, find it hard to focus, have intense mood swings, and become forgetful, seek treatment services for the medical condition you may have. Healthcare services are effective at helping those living with bipolar disorder overcome this challenging situation and recover their behavioral health and mental health. If you or someone you know is living with thoughts of suicide, reach out to the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
What triggers psychosis?
Psychosis can be caused by a mental condition, medical condition, major depression, substance abuse, or any other mental illness and mental health challenges. Psychosis does not have one single cause and the trigger for psychosis can look different from person to person, depending on their mental health and behavioral health. Psychological causes such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and other mental illness issues are all common. General medical conditions can also trigger psychosis, and healthcare professionals can provide health information such as the risk factors and side effects of certain conditions. Additionally, substance abuse issues ranging from drugs to alcohol can all be a trigger for psychosis in people through the deterioration of mental health or the development of mental illness. Spot the signs and symptoms of psychosis, behavioral health changes, and other mental illness concerns and seek treatment services or health services before the situation becomes worse.
What are psychotic thoughts?
The signs and symptoms of psychotic thoughts due to mental illness are characterized by beliefs and perceptions that make it difficult for a person to recognize what is real and what is not, which typically manifests in behavioral health changes or other mental health concerns. They are most often described as seeing, hearing, and feeling things that are not there. This can result in behavioral health concerns, substance abuse issues, major depression, general mental health or mental illness challenges, as well as feelings of hopelessness and other standalone depression symptoms. Depression symptoms, psychotic thoughts, and behavioral health changes can all be dangerous. Depression affects everyone and mental illness or mental health concerns such as psychotic thoughts or substance abuse are reasons to seek treatment services or health services where one can learn beneficial health information as soon as possible.