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We all experience a flux of emotions every day. Sometimes we are elated, there are other times when we feel down. This isn’t surprising because we can’t be happy all the time, so we are bound to experience many other emotions, including sadness. When things don’t go our way or seem upsetting, then we are bound to get upset. But just like other emotions, sadness is also temporary and goes away with time. That’s the first difference between sadness and depression.
On the other hand, depression is an illness. Medical experts have revealed that this mental condition impairs social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. If depression isn’t treated, then the symptoms won’t go away anytime soon.
Now that we know the basic differences, let’s get down to details.
If you are sad, you will feel upset and experience discomfort. Yet, the emotion is experienced for a few moments, and it eventually disappears. You will also have moments when you are able to laugh or be comforted. But if you are depressed, the emotion might not pass. It will also begin to affect all areas of your life. Unlike what most people understand, depression is a mental illness, it isn’t a temporary emotion.
Here are some important symptoms of depression:
Experts use the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 criteria) to diagnose if a patient has depression, or is just sad. That doesn’t mean you do not need to visit a medical professional for proper diagnosis.
The DSM-5 criteria encompasses nine potential symptoms of depression. The intensity of each symptom is also assessed during the process:
Let’s first understand that depression can be experienced by both men and women at any age. Also, it is not limited to any ethnic background or socio-economic status, because anyone can have it. There are several factors that put a person at risk for depression:
Sometimes, depression can also be caused by the overuse of certain medications, including beta-blockers, corticosteroids, hormonal medications, as well as statins.
If your sadness goes on for more than two weeks, then it’s important to consult a specialist right away.
In case you experience sadness often, you can make some small lifestyle changes that help you feel better. These include connecting with other people, taking out time for an activity you enjoy, watching your favourite films, engaging in physical activities, eating healthy and trying to get enough sleep. Lifestyle changes can also help if you are going through depression, but these may not be enough.