Depression vs Sadness Checklist (Use It to Stay Sober & Non-Suicidal)

Depression vs Sadness Checklist (Use It to Stay Sober & Non-Suicidal) | Transced Recovery Community

The main symptom of depression is a pervasive feeling of sadness that is heavy and often feels oppressive. People occasionally describe depression as one of the most painful experiences they’ve had. It is often physically apparent, where facial muscles slump, eyes are often downward facing, and shoulders fall inward. Others might slip into crying quite easily.

However, sadness itself is a different experience. Although depression can feel like chronic sadness, there is a difference between sadness and depression. It’s important to make this distinction because one requires medical treatment and the other does not. If you are depressed, especially if you know that depression underlies your drinking or drug use, then perhaps the following symptoms of depression are useful in identifying whether you need to seek treatment.

Yet, sadness is another kind of internal experience, and it might be one that simply requires processing or talking through. You might need to call upon a therapist, a close friend, or your spouse. You might recognize that you’re sad because you’re not doing what brings you fulfillment, and if this is the case, you can start working on making the changes you need to make in your life.

Use the following checklist to note the differences between sadness and depression. By doing so, you might be able to determine the psychological needs you have and what kind of tools you might need. If you have a sense that you are in fact depressed, getting treatment can save your life. It can save you not only from drug use and drinking, but also from suicidal thinking and attempts at suicide. Getting the right mental health support can slowly lift a depression so that you’re enjoying life again.

Indicators of Depression

Depression is a persistent experience of feeling down, despondent, or low. In order to be diagnosed with depression, there are clear behavioral criteria that a teen must exhibit. Some of these include:

Emotions:

  • Usually with depression there is an inability to feel pleasure, hope. love, or attachment.
  • Typically, there is emotional flatness.

Thinking:

  • Depression comes with very poor concentration due to slow thinking and an inability to pull thoughts together quickly.
  • Thoughts usually consist of negative self-talk such as, “I’m disgusting, worthless, inadequate.” Other thoughts include “I’ve done something wrong”, “I can’t do anything,” or “Death would be a relief”.

Energy Level:

  • With depression there is a loss of will, desire, and interest. There is frequently an avoidance of people, work, and activities.
  • There might be slowed activity or speech.
  • There might be minimal talking, smiling, or movement.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Sleep is frequently disrupted, either experiencing too much or too little sleep.
  • Those who are depressed will have a poor appetite or will overeat.
  • There might be weight gain or loss.
  • There might possibly be crying spells without knowing why.

Indicators of Sadness

Emotions:

  • With sadness, there are feelings of missing someone, disappointment, loss of love, or numbness for a brief time.

Thinking:

  • Sadness also includes poor concentration; however, it’s often due to a preoccupation. There is often an increased level of thinking about the loss, if there was one.

Energy Level:

  • There is an avoidance of, and for others, a desire to, talk about loss.
  • There is a focus on how the loss or sadness interferes with other life pursuits.
  • You might feel drained or exhausted.
  • You might also experience an emotional roller coaster.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Sleep is frequently disrupted, either experiencing too much or too little sleep.
  • Those who are sad will have a poor appetite or will overeat.
  • There might be weight gain or loss.
  • There might be a level of sexual responsiveness.
  • There might also be periods of crying because of the sadness or loss.

Although there are some similarities between depression and sadness, there are some important clinical differences. Each one would be treated much differently by a mental health professional. It’s important to know these subtle differences, particularly because sadness and depression can affect your ability to stay sober. With the right treatment, however, both sobriety and mental health can be a part of your life!

 

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