Are You Simply Sad or Do You Have Major Depressive Disorder?

Are You Simply Sad or Do You Have Major Depressive Disorder?

Depressive Disorder also increases the risk of suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the NIMH.

Do you struggle to get out of bed most mornings? Is just the thought of getting dressed exhausting? Is it less and less fun to spend time with friends and family? Do you find yourself eating a lot more or a lot less than usual?

Many people think that being depressed simply means feeling really, really sad. Yet you don’t have to be teary to be depressed. All of the behaviors above — and a myriad of others that affect how you think, feel, behave, and express yourself — can be signs of depression.

How Do You Know It’s Major Depressive Disorder?

You’ve probably heard the word “depression” tossed around to describe normal everyday dips in mood, things like “This haircut made me so depressed” or “That movie was so sad, I’m depressed.” But when you are actually depressed, “You’re not just blue or down in the dumps,” says clinical psychologist Lorna Gale Cheifetz, PsyD. “You’re really not functioning.”

One of those symptoms needs to be persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness, or a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, such as work, hobbies, seeing friends — even food and sex.

you also need to experience at least four of the following symptoms (or three if you have both of the symptoms above):

  • Significant changes in appetite — weight loss or gain not related to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much (hypersomnia)
  • Increased restlessness (called psychomotor agitation) or the opposite, moving more slowly (called psychomotor retardation)
  • Fatigue, tiredness, or loss of energy, making even simple tasks, such as dressing or washing, difficult
  • Feeling worthless or inappropriately guilty, such as constantly thinking about past mistakes
  • Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide (without or without a specific plan), or a suicide attempt

What Are the Roots of Depression?

There’s broad agreement among mental health professionals and researchers that depression is primarily caused by three kinds of factors that interact to varying degrees in each patient: biological (including your genes, your hormones, and your physical health), psychological (such as your coping skills and how you view yourself), and social (like early life events or prolonged stress at work or home).

Source & Credits: Everyday Health

By Nuna Alberts, LCSW

Medically Reviewed by Allison Young, MD

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