By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters
But comparing feeling blue to being clinically depressed is like calling a hurricane a rainstorm.
“People who are depressed have a cluster of symptoms characterized by sadness and a profound lack of energy and well-being,” says Philip Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Unlike a feeling that comes and goes, depression is a distinct illness that can be disabling if it goes unrecognized and untreated."
Understanding this condition can help you identify the symptoms and seek treatment.
A feeling like no other
One difference between depression and feeling down is that normal feelings of sadness because of a loss or disappointment gradually lift over several days or so.
But “when a low mood becomes chronic, it’s more likely due to depression,” says Dr. Wang.
To help you determine if you’re depressed, answer these questions:
- Do you feel sad or anxious?
- Are you sleeping too little or too much?
- Are you eating less or more than normal?
- Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
- Are you crying a lot?
- Do you have persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches or constipation, that don’t respond to treatment?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions?
- Do you lack energy?
- Do you feel hopeless or worthless?
- Do you have recurring thoughts of death or suicide?