A mental illness called depression causes people to feel sad, apathetic, lost, tired, or uninterested in life over and over again.
In everyday life, we all feel mild forms of these emotions. Some stressful events in your life, the way the world seems to be, or just a time when things don’t seem right can make you feel sad or lost. In fact, it’s good for you.
But when these feelings happen a lot, are very strong, or last a long time, they can get in the way of daily life.
How common sadness is
The most common condition is major depressive disorder, which is also known as major depression. Surveys conducted by reputed organisations offer additional perspective. According to a Deloitte survey of 3,995 employees in 2021-2022, 59% reported symptoms of depression, including feelings of sadness, lack of interest, fatigue, concentration issues, and poor decision-making.
In a 2021 UNICEF survey, around 14% of 15 to 24-year-olds in India reported frequently feeling depressed or disinterested. The World Health Organization’s 2015 report suggested that 4.5% of the Indian population, or approximately 56,675,969 people, were affected by depressive disorders.
Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed, and the signs are different for men and women. A lot of women have sadness after giving birth or during their pregnancy.
Depression can be caused by a lot of different things, such as genetics, mental stress, the surroundings, and your own thoughts and feelings. Some things that can make someone more likely to get depressed are their family history and genes, long-term stress, a history of trauma, gender, nutrition, unresolved sadness or loss, personality traits, and the drugs and medications they use. When you go to a mental health care source for help and treatment, it’s important to think about these things.
It might be hard for you to ask for help if you’re having a hard time with a mental illness or mood problem. A study from the ADAA found that almost 40% of people who had severe sadness did not get help from a mental health professional.
Signs of being depressed
The severe signs of sadness can be different and may even seem to go against each other. Men’s symptoms are more likely to be anger, irritability, and tiredness, while women’s symptoms are more likely to be guilt, worthlessness, and sadness. Also, the signs are different for kids and adults in some ways. In general, these are some of the most common physical and mental signs:
Persistently feeling very sad or hopeless: These emotions may happen for no clear reason and may not get better even when things get better in the outside world.
Not having enough energy: People who are sad may find it hard to get out of bed and do their daily tasks.
Irritability or restlessness: Some forms of sadness may show up as too much or agitated activity instead of (or along with) a lack of energy.
Focusing: Your mind may feel foggy in general, and it may be harder for you to concentrate and think things through.
Loss of interest in things that make you happy: feelings of apathy happen when the things that make you happy (like hobbies, sex, and social activities) seem dull and boring.
Habits of sleeping or eating: Being sad or having bad feelings can make you sleep or eat too much or too little, which can cause you to gain or lose a lot of weight quickly.
Thoughts of suicide or death: These bad thoughts and feelings of not being worth anything may last for a long time, be out of your control, and get in the way of your daily life.
Before coming up with a diagnosis, it’s important to clear out other mental illnesses or medical conditions, such as diabetes, anemia, hypothyroidism, or other chemical imbalances.
Not all sadness is the same
There are a lot of different diseases that can be called mood disorders. The medical professional who does the review will say that the person is depressed after looking at their body and mind. With signs that last a long time and are very bad, the most common types are
People who have major depressive disorder are most likely to be depressed. People who are dealing with major sadness usually have a number of these symptoms, and it’s clear that they make their daily lives harder. These signs last at least two weeks and aren’t usually caused by certain stressful events in life, like losing a job or a loved one.
Consistent Depressive Disorder: People with this type of depression have lesser versions of the symptoms listed above. These signs are still there most of the time, but they are not as bad as they used to be. People who are depressed may be able to hide these signs from most of the people in their lives.
People who have this type of depression, which is also called PMDD, feel sad before their periods. Some women experience it around the time of their period, and the first signs of depression usually show up seven to ten days before their period.
In this type of depressive disorder, the patient’s melancholy symptoms are linked to their substance use disorder or abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Depression Caused by Another Medical Condition: Symptoms of depression can be caused by other medical conditions. In this case, the symptoms are caused by a medical disease that changes the chemistry in the person’s brain, not by how they feel about being sick.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is more serious than the “winter blues” and can have symptoms that are similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder. SAD usually starts in the winter when there isn’t enough sunshine or when the seasons change. Light therapy is often used to treat it.
Depression and another disease, like anxiety or bipolar disorder, can happen at the same time in many people. Heart disease, cancer, or another serious illness can sometimes be the root cause, since feeling hopeless is a normal part of living with a serious illness.
You should know that anxiety disorders and depression are not the same thing, even though they may have some of the same signs. Anxiety disorders have their own unique signs and reasons. It’s interesting that a lot of people who have anxiety have also had problems with sadness in the past, even though there is no clear link between the two. But it’s clear that both conditions can be hard to deal with and have a big impact on a person’s health.
Bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic depression, is also a long-term mood disorder that includes times of mania as well as periods of low or depressed mood and/or major depression symptoms. Bipolar disease and depression are both serious mental illnesses, but they are diagnosed in different ways. Both medical and mental health professionals have good ideas for how to treat both conditions.
Ways to treat depression
In the event that you are showing signs of sadness, you might think about the following options:
Therapy: Talk to a therapist or mental health professional who can help you understand your situation and use tried-and-true methods to make your symptoms and mood better. (See below for more information on how to choose a doctor and the type of treatment.)
Check-ups: Because being depressed can be caused by health problems, it’s important to keep your medical visits and take care of your body. Setting up an appointment with your primary care doctor can help you rule out any physical conditions that might be causing your symptoms or get treatment for a cause that is deeper than the symptoms.
Antidepressants: A lot of people who are sad find that taking medicine helps ease their symptoms. An experienced medical worker can help you deal with the side effects of most prescription drugs and find the best way to treat your depression.
Hotlines: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 at any time if you are thinking about suicide or need help right away. Calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-622-4357 can also help you find help and therapy.
Studies of depressed people have also shown that getting enough sleep, staying active and doing regular exercise, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help keep your mental health in good shape.
- What to look for in a depressed therapist
- Choose a method that you like first.
Most therapists and mental health professionals know how to treat sadness, but they will do it in different ways. You can click on some of the links below to learn more about different ways to treat depression, or you can ask the therapist on your first call what a normal depression session with them is like.
- CBT stands for cognitive behavioral therapy.
- ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
- Therapy based on psychology
- Psychotherapy with other people
It might help you choose the right kind of therapy if you know what kind of sadness you have. These kinds of treatments can sometimes be done in online therapy meetings, so ask your therapist if that’s an option. Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) and magnetic stimulation are two types of brain stimulation that may be used to help people with severe depression. For some people with SAD, light treatment is a good way to help.
You should know what to ask possible therapists.
When looking for a professional, these questions might come in handy:
What kind of treatment (maybe one of the ones above) do you use to help people deal with depression?
Have you worked with people who have the same signs of depression as me before?
Do you use activities that focus on mindfulness to treat your depression? This method has been shown to lower stress, which means it may help people with sadness the most.
Check your own fit
Personality fit is a complicated thing, but it is very important for your therapy to go well. Several studies have shown how important this factor is. It is also sometimes called “therapeutic alliance.”
When you call the Counselling Psychologist for the first time, ask yourself:
- Could I see myself getting along with this therapist?
- Does the way they do things fit my personality?
- Do I think this doctor will listen to me and treat me with respect?
Besides that, think about these things:
- It’s possible for some therapists to spend most of the session hearing and thinking about your patterns and ways of coping.
- Some mental health care providers are more hands-on, making weekly plans and giving clients work to do between meetings.
- Some use certain methods or tools, like eye movements, tapping, guided images, art and music, exposure exercises, and so on.
- Some people use a mix of different methods.
- Think about price, area, and schedule.
It’s only going to work if it works for you. Before you make a reservation, be honest with yourself:
- Could I pay these counselling fees? How much therapy for depression costs varies on where you live, who you see, and whether you have insurance.
- Can I promise to go to sessions regularly? Don’t forget to include time for travel and other things that need to be done in your plan.
- Do I have a good time to meet with the therapists? If you are busy, some therapists offer meetings in the evenings, on the weekends, or online if that works better for you.
Not used to therapy? Find out how to get in touch with a counselling psychologist here.