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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What is the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?

Sadness and depression are often confused but, in fact, they are very different.

At some point in our lives, we all feel sad, but being sad is not the same as being depressed.

What is the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?

Whereas sadness tends to be a passing mood, depression is a serious mental health problem. It has physical as well as emotional implications.

APA's Definition of Depression
According to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), to be diagnosed as depressed, a person must have at least five or more of the following criteria, as self reported or as observed by others, for two or more weeks where these symptoms represent a change from a person's prior functioning:
  • depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day
  • decreased interest in almost all activities for most of the day, nearly every day
  • significant weight gain or weight loss which is not accounted for by diet
  • insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping) nearly every day
  • psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • fatigue or low energy nearly every day
  • feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • problems concentrating or indecisiveness nearly every day
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts (either with or without a plan)
What is the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?

In addition to the above, people who are depressed often feel various aches and pains that cannot be explained by any particular medical condition.

Unfortunately, depression can last for weeks, months or, in some cases, for years.

Depression can be very debilitating, affecting a person's family, career, and daily activities of living.

Well-meaning but misinformed family or friends might tell a depressed person to "snap out of it," but depression is not a mood that people enter into and get over easily.

Getting Help
If you suspect that you or someone you care about has five or more of the above symptoms, it is very important to get professional mental help as soon as possible, especially if there are suicidal thoughts.

Getting Help For Depression:  Many People Return to Their Prior Level of Functioning or Better

With treatment, many people return to at least their prior level of functioning if not better.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

To find out more about me, please visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.


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