The Difference Between Depression and Feeling Down

The Difference Between Depression and Feeling Down

As human beings, we experience a great deal of different emotions. We feel happiness, sadness, jealousy, empowerment, frustration, etc. When we feel sad, it can be difficult to determine the difference between just feeling down and actually experiencing depression. In many cases, those who are depressed are convinced that they are just going through a sad period in their lives, when they are really struggling with depression, and vice versa. It is important to be able to tell the difference between the two, especially because depression often requires professional help.

Is it Depression?

Everyone has felt down at one point or another, usually following a loss or negative experience. The most obvious distinction between feeling down and depression is that those who are feeling down often are able to overcome these emotions, and only experience them for a short period of time. Those with depression, however, will display some of the following symptoms:

  • Length of sadness – Most people who have depression will feel sadness and hopelessness for long periods of time, such as weeks, months, or years. Those who are just feeling down often rebound quickly – within a few days to a week (or within an appropriate time frame based on the event that caused the feelings).
  • Behavioral changes – Depression causes individuals to experience behavioral changes, such as angry outbursts, extreme irritability, loss of interest in sex or activities, and even changes in behavior related to food.
  • Psychological distress – Someone who is depressed and is not receiving treatment can easily begin experiencing psychological distress that includes thoughts of suicide, suicidal attempts and trouble with overall cognition.

These more serious effects of depression are often not shared by those who are just feeling down about a certain situation. It is often the severity of the sadness that distinguishes the two.

Determining a Difference

If you are feeling sad or hopeless, it is important that you try to determine what it is that is contributing to your feelings. For example, if you just experienced a break-up, you might feel down on yourself for an appropriate amount of time. However, if you start noticing that your behaviors are changing as a result, it might be beneficial to speak with a professional about your symptoms. You can also look up the symptoms of depression to help you determine if you truly are experiencing this mental health issue, or if you are just in a slump.

Do You Need Treatment for Depression?

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Do not let one more day go by without getting the help that you need to overcome your emotional distress.