Everyone feels sad, blue, and even despairing at times. But how is feeling depressed different from being depressed? Sadness is a part of being human; it's a natural response to painful and upsetting circumstances. People who are sad usually know the cause of their distress, whether it's divorce, a blow to the self-esteem, health problems, or life changes, like losing a job. Normal sadness is a transient emotion that passes as the distressed person deals with troubling events. Compared to sadness, clinical, or major, depression is far more complex. Clinical depression is a mental illness characterized by both emotional and physical symptoms. Which make it hard to function normally in everyday life. In direct contrast to people who are simply sad, depressed individuals do not usually have a logical "reason" for their feelings. Instead, their persistent depressed mood may come from nowhere. Often, people with depression lose interest in previously pleasurable activities and people. These emotions are often accompanied by physical symptoms not present in people who are simply blue. Aches and pains, sleep and appetite changes, and unrelenting lethargy are all physical signs of clinical depression. Other signs include diminished ability to concentrate and make decisions, Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and/or worthlessness, and even recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. These signs indicate the presence of clinical depression, but the condition cannot be diagnosed unless symptoms occur most of the day, either daily or near daily, for a period of at least two weeks. Also, the symptoms cannot be attributed to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication, Nor can they be the result of a medical condition like hypothyroidism. And if the symptoms occur within two months of the loss of a loved one, clinical depression will not be diagnosed. By definition, clinical depression is debilitating-but it's also highly treatable! If you or a loved one experience persistent, debilitating feelings of depression, talk to a doctor about your symptoms!
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012