W hen somebody asks you whether you are sad or depressed it is usually easy to give them an answer. But some people don’t know.

The Difference between Unhappiness and Depression

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or sad or down for a few days. We all go through times of feeling deeply unhappy or just sad. When we suffer a loss or disappointment or if we miss a long gone love or relative, then we are sad; if we feel miserable because we just can’t pay the bills no matter how hard we try, that is sadness; or if we have been let down in love we feel a deep sadness.

All these are conditions that were created by life events and will usually resolve within a period of time as we find a solution or resolution or comfort. (Some of these can lead to depression).

When you’re depressed you feel persistently sad/ unhappy for weeks or months, rather than just a few days, and no matter how you try to shake this feeling, it just won’t go away – even when your surroundings are good and you know that there is no real “reason” for you to be feeling this bad.

Depression is a Real Illnes

Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re very wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”.

Some types of depression run in families.

But the good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery. Knowing the difference between sadness and depression and a little bit about its symptoms and treatments can lead to a better quality of life for you or someone you know.

Types of Depression

Depression comes in different forms, just as is the case with other illnesses such as heart disease. The three main depressive disorders are: major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Major depression (or major depressive disorder) is manifested by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. A major depressive episode may occur only once, but more commonly, several episodes may occur in a lifetime. Chronic major depression may require a person to continue treatment indefinitely.

A less severe type of depression, dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder), involves long-lasting symptoms that do not seriously disable a person, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes during their lives.

Another type of depression is bipolar disorder (or manic-depressive illness). Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression), often with periods of normal mood in between.

Symptoms of Depression

Not everyone with a depressive disorder experiences every symptom. The number and severity of symptoms may vary among individuals and also over time. In addition, men and women may experience depression differently.

Symptoms of depression include:
• Sad, anxious, or “empty” mood that doesn’t seem to end
• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
• Decreased energy, exhaustion, being “slowed down”
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions – brain feels foggy
• Sleep problems, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
• Appetite and/or weight changes – either gaining or losing weight
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

What to do about Depression

More than 80 percent of people with depressive disorders improve when they receive appropriate treatment. The first step to getting treatment is a physical examination by a medical doctor to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.

Next, the physician should conduct a diagnostic evaluation for depression or refer the patient to a mental health professional for this evaluation.
• Besides the medicine you will learn to change the way you operate, so find a good therapist
• Stay away from any mind altering substances like alcohol, coffee and other stimulants
• Get regular exercise
• Establish a routine for yourself
• Keep your stress under control and
• Avoid negative or toxic people (if you can)
• Be kind to yourself.

After you have read this article I am sure you will understand that sadness or unhappiness and depression are very different. But just like the sadness resolves, depression can also be treated and people with depression can deal with this illness and have a good quality of life.

Top 5 Healthcare Concerns to Kenyans

min of health

In lieu of the recent news reports of Kenyan doctors striking, we (My Health Kenya) decided to launch a healthcare-themed […]

How to maintain happiness in 10 easy steps

There are hundreds if not thousands of quotes about happiness but no matter how many words of wisdom our ancestors […]

How to help your child deal with teenage stress

Like anyone else, teenagers are faced with stressful situations all the time. Adolescence and self- discovery are just some of […]

Signs of Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are common but people are either too detached from reality or burying their heads in the sand to […]

What to do When Feeling Suicidal

Mental Health

Most people feel like committing suicide at one point in their lives but the difference is in how they deal […]

How to budget for Christmas

o-PIGGY-BANK-facebook

We all want to spoil our loved ones and buy gifts for Christmas, but our pockets sometimes wouldn’t allow this […]