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Is it Depression or Just Sadness: When to Seek Help

Depression is among the most prevalent mental health issues in the United States. Sadly, depression can be hard to spot because its signs and symptoms are similar to other mental illnesses and emotions like sadness. Do not believe that having persistently negative feelings is natural or acceptable. Get help from a professional if you can't handle the pressure of any emotion by yourself. A mental health professional can help you determine if you have depression or other mental health problems and give tips on managing them.

Important Stats

Depression is a widespread mental health issue that significantly impacts many people. Every year, around 26% of Americans, age 18 or older, get a diagnosis of a mental condition. This is a considerable proportion of the population, and the problem is made worse because some people simultaneously have more than one mental health problem.

Over 10% of Americans have symptoms of depression that are so severe that they make it hard for them to do well at work or school, keep up relationships with friends and family, and do everyday tasks. The problem doesn't simply affect adults; it affects people of all ages. Data shows that about 16.39% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 experience at least a single major depressive episode in any given year. It corresponds to about 2.7 million young people, with 11.5% having severe depression. Approximately 6 million senior Americans (aged 65 and older) suffer from late-life depression, although only 10% obtain therapy.

Recognizing Depression: Know the Signs

Depression and other mental health problems, especially sadness, can have some of the same symptoms, which makes it hard to tell them apart. Depending on what kind of depression you have, your signs and symptoms could range from mild to very bad. However, depression in children and teenagers often manifests as irritation rather than sadness. Common signs of depression include:

● The decline of enthusiasm for once pleasurable pursuits or hobbies

● The tendency to experience rapid and intense anger and frustration

● Weight increase or reduction due to significant changes in eating habits

● Insomnia, hypersomnia, and other sleep disorders

● Sluggishness and a lack of motivation

● Problems with focusing, deciding or remembering things

● Problems manifesting themselves physically, such as a lack of energy, nausea,

or low libido

● Suicidal or self-harming thoughts.

Depression vs. Sadness

Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, depression and sadness are not the same thing. Sadness is a typical human emotion that everyone experiences occasionally. Depression, on the other hand, is a mental health condition that causes you to be constantly sad, moody, hopeless, and incredibly dull. For instance, a sad person could feel down after a breakup or the loss of a job, yet they can still partake in interests like hanging out with friends, going to the movies, and going to the office. On the other hand, depression can make it hard to get out of bed, lose interest in things that used to be fun, and make it hard to feel joy or pleasure in life. Depression is often accompanied by several physical symptoms, such as feeling tired, losing appetite, and having trouble sleeping. On the other hand, sadness is primarily an emotional state that passes with time, mostly on its own.

Common Causes

There are various factors that contribute to depression, including:

● Biological factors: This can include imbalances in the amounts of neurotransmitters, genetics, and the anatomy of the brain

● Psychiatric factors: Traumatic experiences, persistent stress, negative mental patterns, poor self-esteem, and character traits can also cause depression.

● Environmental factors: A lack of financial resources (poverty), loneliness, abuse, and exposure to violence sometimes causes depression

● Medical issues: Chronic diseases, persistent discomfort, and neurological conditions are among the primary cause of depression in the US.

● Abusing drugs: Abuse of alcohol, narcotics, prescription drugs, and other substances may cause depression or exacerbate it.

● Life events: Relationship issues, financial strain, losing a loved one, and significant life changes can be so stressful that they leave you depressed.

It's important to remember that a combination of these could add to or worsen your depression. Fortunately, depression can be treated, and getting professional help is the best way to deal with the signs and symptoms and improve your quality of life.

When to Get Help for Depression

When facing emotional challenges, particularly depression or extreme grief that interferes with everyday living, it might be helpful to have the support of someone like a religious leader, family member, coworker, or friend. They may provide solace and aid in finding qualified help. However, if you have been experiencing sadness for an extended time—more than two weeks — it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a healthcare professional. Call emergency services immediately if you or someone you care about is considering suicide, or get in touch with a trusted professional like a psychotherapist.

Treatment Options

Depression treatment can involve talk therapy, medicine (including antidepressants), changes to your lifestyle, or a combination of these things. Talk to your doctor about your depression. They might suggest mental health counseling or give you antidepressants to help ease or treat it. If the first antidepressant dose doesn't help you feel better, your doctor may give you a different one. But if therapy and medicine don't work to treat your depression, your doctor may suggest other intense therapies. One such is brain stimulation treatment (transcranial magnetic stimulation), which uses magnetic or electrical stimulation to help treat depression.

Final Thoughts

The signs and intensity of depression vary widely among those who experience it. You could have some of the above-discussed signs and symptoms from time to time, but probably not all of them. Additionally, your symptoms may be greater or less severe than others. Please talk to a professional for help.

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