What If Youre Grieving
Disruptive sadness is normal after a significant loss such as the death of a loved one but even this important human experience can morph into something more serious.
Grieving is a non-linear path, and both individual and cultural factors need to be assessed carefully when differentiating grief from depression, says , MD, assistant medical director at Silver Hill Hospital, a non-profit psychiatric hospital. When feelings of grief become more pervasive and complex, resulting in isolation, appetite and weight changes, an inability to perform daily functions and thoughts of suicide, it is important to seek a professional evaluation.
Samuel Ball, Ph.D., director of psychology & executive programs at Silver Hill Hospital adds that when deep grief extends well beyond two months, and is accompanied by any other symptoms, you should consider evaluation for clinical depression.
Information For Family Carers And Friends
You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.
Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services website:www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/what-benefits-are-available-for-mental-health-carers/
You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.
You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.
You can find out more information about:
How can I support the person that I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.
Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.
You can find out more information about:
You can find more information about:
Signs Of Depression In Adults
Depending on the severity of your depression, you may experience some or all of these symptoms, which may not appear all at once but one after another.
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Out Of Depression
Sadness Is An Emotion Depression Is A Mental Illness
Sadness is a basic emotion and a part of what makes us human everyone knows what it feels like. Experiencing sadness might even be helpful in working through difficult experiences in life, such as rejection, a breakup or disappointment.
Depression, on the other hand, is a mental illness. This means that it shows itself in many different depressive symptoms for at least two weeks. The things that once brought you joy or cheered you up dont help anymore. You feel constantly exhausted and at a loss of motivation.
Persisting sadness is only one part of depression! It is likely that some of your thoughts, behaviors, and even physical experiences have changed alongside with your emotions, causing general distress and a fundamental change in your perception and attitude towards life.
If You Are Diagnosed With Clinical Depression Should You Disclose It To Friends Or Let Them Think You Just Have The Blues
That depends on your comfort level. There still is stigma around mental health challenges. One way to lessen stigma is by telling your friends you live with depression yourself. However, this can be a big step for some people. If youre in a vulnerable place, and youre not sure how a friend will respond to your disclosure, then you may choose not to. You may choose to tell them once youre feeling better, because then you could better handle a negative reaction to your announcement. In my experience, most people have been receptive and empathetic to the news that I struggle with depression. This includes friends, family and employers. Sometimes its helpful to let people you interact with regularly know that youre struggling a bit, so they can be sensitive to your situation.
The Different Types Of Depression
Depression is classified in a number of ways. The types of depression that this test looks for are: major depression, bipolar disorder, cyclothymia , dysthymia , postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Each one presents different symptoms and represents a distinct diagnosis. You can learn more about each of these types of depression after you take the test and get your results. Please note that other variants of depression exist which are not tested for on this web site.
Your Thoughts Are Black
During these weeks your mind is likely occupied by what Kita S. Curry, Ph.D, CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services describes as persistent thoughts of failure, hopelessness or shame, and thinking in black-and-white.
Types of thoughts you may experience, according to Curry: No one has ever loved me its always been this way it will never get better! Thats when you know youre probably depressed.
This sense of hopelessness can be so pervasive you may find yourself unable to feel joy, even when great things happen.
At one point, I knew I was feeling blue, but when I wasnt excited that I was a finalist in a book contest, I realized I was depressed, says Curry.
Also Check: Does Type 2 Diabetes Cause Depression
Depression Is A Real Medical Condition
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life. Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
You May Like: Do You Have To Be Sad To Have Depression
When To Call Your Doctor
Know that you are not alone if you are experiencing some of the symptoms above.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of sadness or depression for longer than a few weeks, consider reaching out to your doctor to determine the cause and what you can do about it.
Sometimes feeling depression is not a result of mental illness. It could be a medical condition, like hypothyroidism, for example, that can be causing symptoms of depression.
Depression Discussion Guide
Withdrawal From Stopping Or Reducing Dosages
Antidepressants are not necessarily addictive, but some can cause physical dependence. It is important to talk to a doctor before stopping an antidepressant. Withdrawal symptoms can occur after a change in dosage or stoppage of treatment. Depressive symptoms can also worsen during the withdrawal process. This should be done under a physicians supervision to minimize risks and complications. Dosage should be reduced gradually and safely.
Don’t Miss: Sleep Medication For Anxiety And Depression
What Are The Different Types Of Depression
You might have heard a number of terms used to describe depression. In this section, we explain what some of these terms mean.
What is clinical depression?
Clinical depression is a common term, but it is not a formal diagnosis. People sometimes say clinical diagnosis to just mean they have been diagnosed by a doctor.
What is a depressive episode?
Your doctor might say that you are going through a ‘depressive episode’. This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you are going through a ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ episode.
What is recurrent depressive disorder?
If you have had repeated episodes of depression, your doctor might say that you have recurrent depressive disorder. They may say that your current episode is ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’.
What is reactive depression?
If your doctor thinks that your episode of depression was caused by particular stressful events in your life, they may say that it is reactive. For example, divorce, job or money worries. This is sometimes separated from an adjustment disorder, where you may struggle with some symptoms of depression because of adapting to a major change in your life. Such as separation from people, retirement or migrating to a new area.
What is a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms?
You can find more information about Psychosis by clicking here.
What is dysthymia?
What is cyclothymia?
What is postnatal depression?
What is manic depression?
How Do I Know If Im Sad Or Depressed
If youre sad because you lost your job, are going through a breakup, or lost someone in your life its certainly no fun, but its also pretty normal. Sadness, even extreme sadness, is a natural reaction to events like these. That said, regular sadness can also turn into depression. If the feelings dont get better over time, or if your mood starts to get in the way of your daily life, you might be developing a case of depression.
Physical changes can also affect your mood, like hormone changes due to puberty or certain medical treatments or conditions. If you think you might be depressed, its a good idea to have a doctor review any medications youre taking and test your thyroid and other hormone levels.
If you still arent sure why youre feeling down, or if mental illness of any kind runs in your family, theres a decent chance youre experiencing depression. If you havent already done so, consider taking our depression screen.
Read Also: Is Depression A Mental Disease
Suicide Risks And Antidepressants
Most antidepressants are considered safe. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration requires all antidepressants to carry a warning. This warns about increased suicide risks in younger people on antidepressants. In some cases, people below the age of 25 may have increased suicidal thoughts or behaviors when taking antidepressants. People of all ages should watch for worsening depression or unusual behavior. If suicidal thoughts happen, get emergency help or talk to a doctor.
Antidepressants are more likely to reduce the risk of suicide for the long-term by improving mood and stopping depressive symptoms. Like any other drug, doctors and patients must balance the benefits against the risks.
You Cant Just Snap Out Of Depression
Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to snap out of it, just be positive, or you can be happier if you just try harder. But depression is not a sign of a persons weakness or a character flaw. The truth is that most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.
If you are a friend or family member of a woman with depression, you can offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. But never dismiss her feelings. Encourage her to talk to her health care provider, and remind her that, with time and treatment, she can feel better.
Don’t Miss: How To Tell The Doctor Your Depressed
A Quick Lesson In Finding The Why In Your Life
One of the most poignant examples of suffering and sadness is the story of Viktor Frankl, a physician and psychiatrist who survived four Nazi concentration and death camps, including the infamous Auschwitz. Frankl epitomized the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” As a prisoner, Frankl kept himself and his hopes alive by a desire to see his wife again and one day teach about man’s quest for meaning.
Sadly, Frankl’s parents, brother, and pregnant wife were killed but he was able to cope, source the importance of it all, and move forward with a renewed life purpose to include writing one of the most moving and significant books of our time, Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl teaches us that “if there is a meaning in life at all, there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an eradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.“
We all face the opportunity to achieve something through our pain. Our unique opportunity lies in the way we bear our burden, and in our attitude toward difficulty while pondering our meaning. Make no mistake you have a decisive and purposeful meaning in this world. For many of us – myself included – it takes suffering and hardship to find it.
This is also why mental health professionals exist, and the treatments are effective.
How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
Recommended Reading: How Much Of The World Has Depression
Understanding The Difference Between Sadness And Depression Is Critical
Knowing if you’re depressed or just sad is a key part of figuring out how to manage it.
If you find that nothing significant has happened in your life, that your hopelessness has been with you for a while and is getting worse, and if mood disorders run in your family, then you might be struggling with chemical depression.
And if you’re dealing with chemical depression, reach out to your primary care doctor to see what kind of treatment they might recommend to help you manage it.
If you’re sad because of a recent loss in your life, or something that has happened but your sadness hasnt lasted for a long time or is getting worse, then you might be dealing with situational depression.
Take care of yourself, eat and sleep well, exercise, and see if it passes with time.
If it doesnt, reach out to your primary care doctor and see what they might recommend so you can get through this rough period of time.
Depression and sadness dont have to hold you back from living your life! Face them head-on, learn how to manage them, and move forward. You will be OK!
Sadness Is Subjective Depression Is Diagnosed
It is up to you to say that you are sad. No one can deny that you are sad, it is something you experience subjectively and independently. Depression, on the other hand, has set criteria and requires an official diagnosis. After all, not only the time period is key to the diagnosis, also a specific combination of core and additional symptoms. Consequently, a depression test is necessary.
If you are still uncertain, keeping track of your emotions, cognition, and physical experiences can support the detection of depression. MindDoc regularly measures all depressive symptoms. The app, created to help you detect depressive symptoms and episodes, will ask you questions three times a day over the course of two weeks, giving you a sound doctors letter at the end of that period. This way youll be able to rule out any remaining doubts and gain a deeper understanding of what it is youre experiencing.
Recommended Reading: Medication For Insomnia And Depression
Am I Actually Depressed Or Just Sad
My heart sank as I heard my friends response after revealing how I had been feeling recently. Oh, come on now, your life is going great. You just have the blues, it will pass. I shrugged my shoulders and sipped some tea, wondering what to say next. The problem was that it didnt pass, my symptoms were remaining the same, and each passing day was a struggle to get through.
When a person is depressed, their symptoms could manifest in different ways. Some symptoms of depression could include:
- Fatigue, even feeling like getting out of bed can be challenging, let alone working.
- Negative thinking, even when life is seemingly going well for the person. Lack of hope for the future, even if others see hope in the persons life.
- Isolating behavior can occur, a person who is normally social may choose to stay home most of the time.
- Losing interest in activities that are usually fun for the person.
- Dark thoughts can occur, even suicidal thoughts if the depression is severe.
These are a few examples of symptoms of clinical depression. For a more comprehensive list of symptoms, you can check out this website.
One important thing to remember is that situational blues can trigger clinical depression in some people. For example, if a person loses a loved one suddenly and still feels extremely sad every day two years later, then they may be suffering from clinical depression, and should ask their doctor about it.