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A Guide To Understanding Depression vs. Sadness

 [ Depression Screening Test ]

Depression vs. Sadness

How do you know when what you are experiencing is just a bad day or something more serious?  We all have our ups and downs depending on how our day or week is going.  The transition from bad day to rut to clinical depression can be gradual and leave even the strongest person thinking, "What is wrong with me?  I just have to try harder!  Why am I so lazy?  Why can't I get out of bed?"


  • Concentration is often impaired 
  • Feeling fatigued after 12 hours of sleep 
  • Inability to experience pleasure 
  • Decrease in appetite or food loses its taste
  • Increased isolation
  • Feelings of guilt, helplessness and/or hopelessness
  • Sleep disturbance or unable to fall back to sleep
  • Thoughts of suicide 
  • Change in personality
  • Missing deadlines or a drop in standards
  • Increased alcohol/drug use
  • Increased sexual promiscuity
  • Increase in self-critical thoughts with a voice in the back of one's mind providing a constant barrage of harsh, negative statements

If someone experiences most of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, 
there is a good chance they are suffering from a clinical depression

Questions About Clinical Depression


Clinical depression is a medical illness similar to pneumonia that even the strongest person cannot overcome without treatment. Clinical depression is similar to heart disease and cancer in that all of us have a susceptibility to each. If we have a family history of one of these illnesses, our susceptibility increases. This explains how some develop a clinical depression only after extraordinary stressors and others develop clinical depression seemingly out of the blue. Clinical depression is a very common illness that affects approximately 3-5% of the population at any one time. There is a 20% chance of having an episode of clinical depression at some point in one's life. The percentages are similar for the general population and college students.


Clinical depression is readily treatable with counseling and/or medication. Medication can correct the chemical imbalance (low levels of brain serotonin and norepinephrine) that is found in people with symptoms consistent with clinical depression. Unfortunately, fifty percent of people who have clinical depression never get help and suffer silently. Untreated, the average clinical depression can last 9-12 months. With treatment, people often report significant relief within 4-6 weeks.


Clinical depression often has its first onset in people between the ages of 18 and 22. Many stressors are inherent to these years, which may contribute to the onset of a clinical depression: separating physically and psychologically from one's family, managing the increase in freedom, dealing with the successes and disappointments that occur in academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities, developing and losing love relationships, many people experience death for the first time during these years with the loss of a friend or family member, choosing a major, finding a job, leaving the familiarity and security of college for the real world.


Talk with your physician, check with your medical insurer or call FindingStone Counseling Center for an initial consultation free of charge when you mention this website.

Click here for information on FREE and CONFIDENTIAL depression screening


FindingStone Counseling Center
4450 North 12th Street
Suite 210
Phoenix, Arizona 85014
Voice: 602-234-0541
Fax:   602.265.5513


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