What’s the difference between feeling down and depression?

Sometimes in life there can be events and experiences that can leave us feeling a bit down. These can include issues in a relationship, losing a loved one, trouble sleeping, stress at work, being bullied or suffering with a physical health condition. Sometimes you can just feel down without any obvious cause or reason. If low mood continues for a long duration of time, this can potentially be depression, which is difficult to diagnose and treat.

Symptoms of a low mood:

  • Sad
  • Anxious or panicky
  • Worried
  • Tired
  • Unconfident
  • Frustrated
  • Angry

Feeling down is a perfectly natural human emotion, and is healthy if not prolonged. Getting more sleep, improving your diet, taking up exercise or talking it over with a close friend can all improve symptoms of a low mood. However, if symptoms go on for longer than expected this can be a sign of depression.

Symptoms of depression are:

  • Prolonged low mood
  • Negative outlook
  • Feeling despairing or hopeless
  • Not having any energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eating too much or not enough
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Thinking about harming or killing yourself

There are specific kinds of depression that can occur at certain points in life, such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or Postnatal Depression (after having a baby).

When to get help and what’s available

If you are struggling with depression and can’t see a way forward, it’s best to speak to your GP who will be able to discuss your options. If you are diagnosed with having depression, there are several treatments available.

Self-help

There are a few things you can do to help yourself, such as:

  • Regularly get a good night’s sleep
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Get regular exercise
  • Learn meditation
  • Do breathing exercises
  • Thinking differently

Antidepressants

The first thing the GP will do is see if you are a candidate for anti-depressants. These are drugs you can take that change your brain chemistry and prevent you from feeling down.

Counselling

The best option for some is simply talking through your problems with a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. We would recommend speaking to Cheryl King Counselling Associates, who are Preston based and highly qualified in dealing with depression counselling.

 

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