Sadness and grief can last for days or even longer, with levels of intensity that vary. It’s possible you’d describe your feelings as depressed, but it may not be an episode of major depressive disorder, a clinical mood disorder that endures relentlessly.
It’s time to visit Premier Psychiatry when your feelings feel heavy and interfere with your life or cause you physical pain. It can be hard to make that initial effort for yourself or for those close to you who may be suffering from depression. The good news is that depression responds well to treatment, making that difficult first step worthwhile.
Depression versus sadness
Emotions are always in flux. You may be happy about the outcome of a sporting event or time spent with friends. You could be sad because bad weather spoiled your plans or you didn’t get hired for a job that you wanted. These feelings and others come and go, as well as having varying levels of intensity.
While depression carries elements of sadness, it’s a prolonged condition that may not have a direct trigger. It’s a mental illness that interferes with your ability to function normally in your home life, social situations, and at work or school. Depression interrupts the cycle of normal emotions. Without treatment, depression can be ongoing and even increasing over time.
Signs and symptoms of depression
People experience depression in unique ways, though there are many common symptoms of the illness. These signs often include:
- Persistent feelings of emptiness or sadness
- Lost of interest in activities that once brought pleasure
- Social withdrawal
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Changes to sleep habits, including insomnia and/or excessive sleep time
- Feelings of guilt
- Weak self-esteem
- Moodiness and irritability
- Trouble with focus and concentration
- An overall sense of fatigue
- Changes in appetite, including overeating or undereating
- Unexplained chronic pain
- Thoughts of self-harm and suicide
The changes caused by depression are usually easy to see, in yourself and for those who are close to you. You may be aware of your negative feelings and behaviors without knowing why.
When does depression require professional help?
The simple answer is to see a mental health specialist when you first recognize the signs of depression, in yourself or in a loved one.
When depression symptoms are mild
When your work and home life don’t suffer from your negative feelings, and you have no thoughts about self-harm or suicide, it’s likely fine to wait a week or two to see if the episode passes.
When depression symptoms impact daily life
It’s time to seek help as aspects of your life begin to show signs of deterioration. It may be something as simple as a mistake at work that you wouldn’t typically wouldn’t make. You may feel aches and pains that have no obvious reason but that accompany the general joylessness you’re feeling. When you begin to dwell on suicidal thoughts, you need immediate care.
Depression responds to treatment. While your ideal solution may take trial and error, you’ll begin to feel better with treatment. Make an appointment with one of our psychiatrists, by phone or online, at Premier Psychiatry in Orland Park, Illinois. It’s never too soon to act on feelings of depression.