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