Knowing the Difference Between a Case of the Blues and Clinical Depression

August 6, 2018 4:44 pm

Rushing to meetings and gatherings with friends and family, taking the kids from place-to-place, meeting deadlines, cleaning the house…some days it feels like it goes on and on.

At one time or another, almost everyone has felt stressed by demands at work or at home. Stress can take a toll on how you feel both physically and emotionally and also interfere with your ability to live your life to the fullest.

There is an important link between stress and depression. In fact, depression actually causes some of the problems we attribute to stress. Likewise, some forms of stress can make people more likely to become depressed.

We all feel blue from time to time. However, depression is more than just feeling “stressed out” or “down in the dumps” for a few days. True clinical depression is more intense, lasts longer, can significantly interfere with day-to-day activities and is more common than you may think.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors causes depression. Depression affects approximately 16 million American adults according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is so widespread that it has been dubbed “the common cold of mental illness.”

According to NIMH, people suffering from depression often experience some of these key symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Mercy Health encourages you to make an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP) if you experience five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine.

Having a PCP who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Look to Mercy Health Physician Partners to find a provider here>>

Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

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