Depression. What is it and how do I know if I have it or not?

These days, it is common for people to casually toss out the word “depression”. To start with, it is helpful to clarify the difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in his or her life. With sadness, you might feel down in the dumps for a day or two, but you’re still able to experience pleasure in the simple things like your favorite TV show, food, activity or spending time with friends. This isn’t the case when someone is dealing with depression.  

One difference between sadness and clinical depression is depression often impacts your daily life. A formal diagnosis of major depression is given when you experience five or more of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period: depressed mood or irritability most of the day, decreased interested in pleasurable activities most of the day,  significant changes in weight or appetite, too much or too little sleep, changes in motivation, fatigue or loss of energy, guilt/worthlessness, poor concentration/indecisiveness and thoughts of suicide. 

How is Depression treated?

Depression is most often treated through a blended approach of therapy, medications and healthy lifestyle changes. In addition to these approaches, as a Christian practice we affirm the role Scripture and a personal relationship with God in the process of emotional healing.