We will all experience sadness, unhappiness and disappointment at some point in our lives, but at what point can these factors be determined as depression? Depression is a common mental illness that affects may people all around the world. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that approximately 350 million people all over the globe suffer from depression. Those numbers make it seem like depression is just as common as catching a cold! Regardless of this, depression is much more than simply feeling sad or unhappy. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; APA, 2000) define depression as losing interest or enjoyment in activities that last for a period of 2 weeks or longer. In addition, in order to accurately diagnose depression, the individual has to experience at least 5 of the following symptoms taken off the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website:
- “Depressed mood most of the day.
- Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities.
- Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.
- Insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Agitation or psychomotor retardation noticed by others.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness.
- Recurrent thoughts of death”
If you experience 5 or more of these symptoms, then it’s a clear sign that you are depressed instead of sad. So what is the difference? When we are sad, most times it won’t affect the way we do things or live our lives. These feelings usually last for a few days, at a push a week but never for extended periods of time like someone who is suffering from depression. Here are some common types of sadness that are often misinterpreted as depression or can lead to depression:
- The loss of a loved one: Losing someone we love is always a sad event, but its part of life. It’s perfectly normal to grieve, but this usually does not lead to depression.
- Divorces or Break-Ups: Loneliness is one of the major causes of sadness and has been proven to cause depression.
- Unemployment: Losing a job is one of the biggest fears that many people have as without a source of funding, one can barely survive. The pressure and stress of unemployment has been known to cause depression.
- Change of Seasons: Believe it or not, the weather has the ability to cause sadness in an individual. This is commonly known as seasonal affective disorder, usually experienced in winter and goes away once the individual is exposed to sunnier days.
If you or a loved one is suffering with a depression problem, the best way to get help is inside a psychiatric clinic, where patients will receive the best possible cared to help them overcome this mental health problem. For access to a depression clinic near you, call us now and let one of our qualified and friendly counsellors provide you with free expert and confidential advice on what is best for you or your loved one.
The World Health Organisation (WHO): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2012/mental_health_day_20121009/en/
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64063/