Signs of Depression – Normal vs. Mental Disorder

depression Massapequa, NY

Depression is a mental disorder that may have a negative impact on the way you think, feel or act. Just like other mental disorders, it involves changes in thinking, emotions and behavior. Depression is associated with distress and problems functioning in family, social or work activities. Fortunately, this mental disorder is treatable. Knowing the signs of depression can help you seek treatment early.

Normal vs. mental disorder

Determining the difference between normal mental health and a mental disorder is sometimes obvious. Other times, it is hard to distinguish mental illness from normal feelings. However, people should know how mental disorders are identified. Here are some signs of depression.

Depression and sadness or grief

People may feel sad or grief because of many reasons, including the loss of a job, death of a loved one or the end of a relationship. These are normal feelings and responses to such situations. These responses are natural. Some people who experience loss believe they are depressed. However, depression is not the same as sadness.

Although the grieving process shares some features of depression they differ in many ways. Both involve intense sadness and may lead to people withdrawing from usual activities. But for a diagnosis of depression to be made, symptoms must last for not less than two weeks. Painful feelings come in waves for people who are grieving and a person may also have good memories of the deceased. However, for major depression, a person loses interest and has a depressed mood for most of two weeks.

In grief, people still have high self-esteem. For major depression, people feel worthless. For some individuals, the loss of a loved one, a job or an unfortunate incident may lead to depression. When depression and grief are experienced at the same time, grief is usually more severe and lasts longer than it would without depression. Despite the similarities, grief and depression are different. Knowing the differences between depression and sadness and grief can help a person get the needed help, support and treatment.

Signs and symptoms of depression

Depression leads to loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed by an individual and causes feelings of sadness. It can also decrease the ability of a person to function at home or at work. The symptoms vary from severe to moderate. Some include having a depressed mood, loss of pleasure or interest in once enjoyed activities and changes in appetite.

Others include weight gain or loss unrelated to dieting, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, increased fatigue and loss of energy. People may also feel worthless or have difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions. Sometimes people even have thoughts of suicide or death. Symptoms have to last for a minimum of two weeks for a diagnosis to be made.


People can cope with the symptoms of depression. There are different things that people can do to reduce the symptoms. Exercising regularly helps a lot of people. It improves mood and makes people feel positive. People are also advised to get enough sleep regularly, avoid alcohol and eat a healthy diet.

Seeking help

Most people grieve and feel sad and lonely. These feelings are natural responses and can be due to loss. However, if these feelings become overwhelming, end up causing physical symptoms and last for a long period, they can keep you from leading an active, normal life. If you notice some signs of depression, seek medical help. This is an important step toward getting the help you need.

Request an appointment here: or call Evolve Psychiatry at (631) 773-1096 for an appointment in our Massapequa office.

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