One of the reasons depression remained underdiagnosed and undertreated is that sadness is a normal human emotion, so how do we know when we are sad vs depression? Perhaps the easiest way to understand the difference is to look at the criteria researchers use to diagnose depression. To meet criteria for a major depressive disorder you must have:
Five or more of the following during a 2-week period:
1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
2) diminished interest in pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day, nearly every day
3) significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain, or a decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
4) insomnia or too much sleep nearly every day
5) feeling physically agitated or slowed down nearly every day
6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
7) feelings of worthlessness or too much guilt nearly every day
8) trouble thinking or concentrating or having trouble making decisions nearly every day
9) thinking about death over and over again
Your symptoms must cause significant distress or problems functioning socially or at work. The symptoms are not due to a drug or medical condition.
So if you are in a funk you may feel sad or down but typically you don’t have physical symptoms of weight/appetite change, sleep change, and concentration changes. A funk doesn’t typically last most of the day nearly every day for 2 weeks.
Are you experiencing these symptoms of depression? Is it more than a funk? Please reach out for help! Often the first step is to talk to your primary care doctor to make sure you don’t have a medical issue that may cause your symptoms. Using drugs? Please get help – substance use can cause depression even when it is not addiction. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today at (919) 636-5240.
Live Mentally Healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne
With over 15 years of medical expertise, Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience treating mental health conditions in adults, including dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression. After practicing in New York City for 12 years, Dr. Byrne relocated to North Carolina in 2008; she currently cares for patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill. Dr. Byrne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She then received her doctorate from New York University Department of Neurophysiology. She also has a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Byrne went on to complete a psychiatry residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition to her work as a psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne has performed extensive research on attention, memory, and depression. As a board- certified adult psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne focuses on the needs of each patient to pro.