When Does Low Mood Become Depression
We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.
But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. See our page on the symptoms of depression for more information.
How It Feels According To People With Depression
Some people ask me this question for comfort and to ensure that they are not alone with their experience, while others feel so confused by their tumultuous feelings that they struggle to clearly identify their inner experience, she says.
With that in mind, here are some of the responses Magavi hears in her sessions:
- “Depression feels like a weight on my chest, which brings me down everywhere I go.”
- “Depression is receiving praise at work but still feeling worthless.”
- “Depression is the loneliness I feel when I see other couples and families laughing and enjoying their lives.”
- “Depression is feeling like I am a failure as a person, family member, and friend.”
- “Depression is when I cannot take care of my children because I cannot take care of myself.”
- “Depression is not brushing my hair and teeth because I simply cannot move.”
- “Depression is smiling when others laugh, hiding behind the fabricated mask, and wishing I could just disappear.”
- “Depression is my life and shadow, which haunts me every day.”
Christian Sismone, someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety her entire life, says its important to provide a non-clinical perspective. She shares these examples:
How To Calm Down Using Breathwork
Breathwork is a technique that uses the breath to launch power and tension in the body. It is an engaging way to relax.
There are several breathing strategies for anxiety alleviation, yet taking deep breaths is the most convenient one. Breathing exercises can be done anywhere as well as anytime. You can do them at your desk or even while awaiting your bus.
This section will certainly teach you how to do breathwork for stress and anxiety relief to learn just how to cool down with these very easy breathing workouts.
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Getting Help For Someone Who Is Depressed
Its important to intervene if you notice someone is depressed. The more time the person spends depressed, the harder it can be for them to get out of it. Luckily, there are ample resources available. If you or someone you know is depressed, start by talking to a physician, who will then perform an examination and possibly refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. The mental health professional will start by talking to you and asking various questions to determine how long the depression has been going on, the severity of the symptoms, and whether any medications are being taken that might be worsening the bad moods.
A mixture of antidepressant medication and behavioral therapy can help ease depression. Behavioral and cognitive therapies help you to recognize and alter negative self-talk that reinforces depressive thought patterns. Give our operators a call at today to learn more about recovering from depression and reclaiming your life.
Tips For Friends And Family
If you have a friend or loved one dealing with depression, you might be wondering if there are things you should look or listen for. The good news, according to Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, is you dont need to have a great understanding of what depression feels like to you, just try to be curious about what depression feels like for them.
His advice? Try to understand it enough so that you stay aware of the symptoms and look for the little things that indicate your loved one is doing well or that they are struggling.
Whats most important is that we are trying to care for them and when we are aware of their struggle, we can check on them and ask what we can do to help, Gilliland says.
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How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
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Who Can Be Treated Successfully For Clinical Depression
More than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated with early recognition, intervention, and support.
Depression affects almost 19 million people each year, including a large portion of the working population. People with untreated depression can usually get to work. But once there, they may be irritable, fatigued, and have difficulty concentrating. Untreated depression makes it difficult for employees to work well.
Most people do best with depression treatment using psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both. For treatment-resistant depression, one that does not respond to medication, there are alternative treatments. One example is electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. There is also TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or a novel intranasal ketamine spray.
National Institute of Mental Health: âWhat is Depression?â and “Suicide in the US: Statistics and Prevention.”
The National Womenâs Health Information Center: âDepression.â
National Cancer Institute: âDepression .â
Food and Drug Administration: âThe Lowdown on Depression.â
Mental Health America: âFacts about Depression and Suicide.â
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Pub, 2000.
Fieve, R. Bipolar II, Rodale Books, 2006.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: “The Impact and Cost of Mental Illness: The Case of Depression.”
Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse.
If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
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Or Write Down Your Feelings On A Piece Of Paper Then Tear It Up
“You know how people say if you are ever angry at someone you should write down why and then tear up everything you just wrote? Well that’s what I do with my depression. I try to write, draw, or just scribble out all of the terrible feelings, and then I tear it up. It’s my little way of trying to control the hurricane of emotions.”
What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
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How Do I Know Which Type I Have
If you think you might have any type of depression, its important to follow up with a doctor. All depression types discussed in this article are treatable, though it might take some time to find the right treatment for you.
If youve had a previous episode of depression and think it may be happening again, see a therapist or another mental health professional right away.
If youve never had depression before, start with a primary care physician. Some symptoms of depression can be related to an underlying physical condition that should be addressed.
Try to give your doctor as much information about your symptoms as you can. If possible, mention:
- when you first noticed the symptoms
- how theyve affected your daily life
- any other mental health conditions you have
- any information about a history of mental illness in your family
- all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including supplements and herbs
It might feel uncomfortable, but try to tell your doctor everything. This will help them give you a more accurate diagnosis and refer you to the right type of mental health professional.
Find The Right Therapist For You
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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/
Have A Mantra On Deck That’ll Help You Feel Better
“When my depression rears its ugly head, I use a mantra that I made up for myself to help get around it. I tell my depression, ‘I am not depressed, I have depression. You’re there and a part of me, but you don’t own me. I respect you, but I don’t give you power over me.’ It helps clear my head and gives me perspective, reminding me that it will pass and I’ll still be here, like so many times before.”
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They May Often Seem Exhausted Or Complain About Always Being Tired
A prevalent side effect of depression is constant exhaustion. Not everyone with the disorder struggles with it, but its extremely common. For those who experience this symptom with their depression, its often one of the hardest side effects to cope with.
Also, if someone is living with an undiagnosed depression disorder, the cause of their exhaustion can be baffling. They can get plenty of sleep each night and still wake up every morning feeling like they only slept a few hours. Worse, they may blame themselves, believing it to be laziness or some other personal fault thats causing their low energy levels.
This is also a symptom thats difficult to conceal for those who have been diagnosed with depression but are attempting to keep it from their peers, as it often affects their workload and personal relationships.
Early Losses And Trauma
Certain events can have lasting physical, as well as emotional, consequences. Researchers have found that early losses and emotional trauma may leave individuals more vulnerable to depression later in life.
Profound early losses, such as the death of a parent or the withdrawal of a loved one’s affection, may resonate throughout life, eventually expressing themselves as depression. When an individual is unaware of the wellspring of his or her illness, he or she can’t easily move past the depression. Moreover, unless the person gains a conscious understanding of the source of the condition, later losses or disappointments may trigger its return.
Traumas may also be indelibly etched on the psyche. A small but intriguing study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that women who were abused physically or sexually as children had more extreme stress responses than women who had not been abused. The women had higher levels of the stress hormones ACTH and cortisol, and their hearts beat faster when they performed stressful tasks, such as working out mathematical equations or speaking in front of an audience.
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Genes’ Effect On Mood And Depression
Every part of your body, including your brain, is controlled by genes. Genes make proteins that are involved in biological processes. Throughout life, different genes turn on and off, so that in the best case they make the right proteins at the right time. But if the genes get it wrong, they can alter your biology in a way that results in your mood becoming unstable. In a person who is genetically vulnerable to depression, any stress can then push this system off balance.
Mood is affected by dozens of genes, and as our genetic endowments differ, so do our depressions. The hope is that as researchers pinpoint the genes involved in mood disorders and better understand their functions, depression treatment can become more individualized and more successful. Patients would receive the best medication for their type of depression.
Another goal of gene research, of course, is to understand how, exactly, biology makes certain people vulnerable to depression. For example, several genes influence the stress response, leaving us more or less likely to become depressed in response to trouble.
The evidence for other types of depression is more subtle, but it is real. A person who has a first-degree relative who suffered major depression has an increase in risk for the condition of 1.5% to 3% over normal.
Break The Ice Gently Yet Firmly
If you suspect your partner is depressed, dont blurt out a laypersons: Youre depressed! or announce: You better get help! In order to begin the process of healing, approach your spouse with concern and with an action plan, Walfish says. You might say, Im concerned about how feeling tired and losing your appetite are affecting you. You deserve to feel better. Our doctor may be able to help you, and Id like to arrange a time when we can meet with him. Next week, I can go on Wednesday or Friday. Whats good for you?
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They Can Be Unusually Irritable
A depressed persons behavior might be interpreted as melancholy even if thats not what theyre really feeling. Irritability is a frequently overlooked symptom of depression that is also very common. This should be understandable, since depression is a health problem you cant see or strictly measure, making it hard to combat.
The constant work it takes to keep up all the necessary aspects of life while dealing with depression also drains the person, and leaves little room for patience or understanding.
If someone you know discovers theyre clinically depressed and shares this with you, you may initially be confused if their previous behavior didnt fit the common misconception of the shy, silent depressed person. If they tend to have a short temper and are quick to annoy, thats actually a side effect of depression.