The Difference Between Depression and Feeling Down

The Difference Between Depression and Feeling Down

Depression and Feeling Down

Everyone experiences difficult times of life that lead to feelings of sadness, grief, or even hopelessness. Sadness and grief are natural responses to painful life events, responses that many people mistake for depression. People often use the word “depression” to describe the process of working through the loss of a loved one or the disappointment of being unemployed. Adversely, many people underplay true depression by calling it sadness. However, depression is a clinical condition that goes beyond the natural emotional response to pain.

What Is Depression?

When intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness do not go away, this is an indication of depression. Depression affects your everyday life and keeps you from participating in activities and relationships. Things as normal as eating, sleeping, working, and socializing may feel like difficult tasks.

Medical intervention becomes necessary when people begin to experience some of the following persistent symptoms:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of emotional numbness
  • Appetite loss or overeating
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecision
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Empty feelings
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide

Depression is an unrelenting feeling of despair that does not resolve itself the way sadness does, and professional help may be necessary.

How Do I Know Whether I’m Depressed or Simply Sad?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, between 20 and 25 percent of adults over age 18 experience major depression at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, many of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated. A percentage of them even end in suicide. Knowing the signs of depression can help you identify it in yourself or a loved one.

If you have recently experienced a painful life event, your sad or hopeless emotions are most likely healthy and will relent with time. Seeing a counselor during a hard time can help you work through intense painful emotions and begin to find healing. If the hopelessness and sadness persists and you feel trapped, consider looking into treatments for depression. Even though difficult events can trigger clinical depression, it is important to realize that sadness and grief are healthy and do not necessarily indicate the medical condition of depression.

Thankfully, clinical depression is a treatable medical condition. There are many options for depression treatment, including counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressant medications. Combinations of psychological and medical therapy are effective in many cases of major depression.

Help for Depression

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, call our toll-free helpline today to speak with an admissions coordinator about professional help. We are available 24 hours a day. Please call today.