Anxiety, Sadness and Depression

Many people do not know the difference between sadness  and the clinical depression found in psychiatric disorders, like those classified as Mood Disorders. They also do not have a clear idea about the difference between worry, fear and anxiety that rises to a level of clinical concern. They have even less of a clue whether the sadness they are feeling is a significant clinical problem, or just a feeling.

The main distinction is that clinical depression — or also in clinical ilevels of anxiety —  these disorders are debilitating. True clinical disorders interfere with work or studies, often makes the social life of the patient and thier family miserable,  and they usually come with unbelievably hard to take psychological pain. That is when psychologists call it names like clinical depression or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

 This confusion can cause a lot of problems, with armchair psychologist-wannabes giving overly simple advice to friends and family. These patients, who have real clinical problems and not normal mood swings, likely need instead a professional consultation.  Clinically anxious people are not worry worts, they are typically racked with dread and living on a roller coaster. Clinically depressed persons may stay in bed for days, or alternatively sleep too little, and have no interest in the things they used to enjoy.

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Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. Types of Depression

    When we think of depression, we think of being sad or “blue”, but there are in fact several kinds of depression, with quite variable symptoms. It is even possible to be depressed without an overwhelming feeling of sadness. The most appropriate way to classify depressive syndromes remains hotly debated.

    Primary or Secondary Depression?

    Often depression occurs as a clear reaction to a life event, such as trauma, physical illness or bereavement. Psychologists may distinguish this (also called reactive depression) from depressions that have no obvious cause, though this isn’t always clear. Categorizing this way is helpful because, if an obvious trigger exists, that can then be addressed.

    Unipolar or Bipolar Depression?

    Some people with depression just feel ‘down’, but in manic depression (bipolar disorder) sufferers alternate between sadness and agitated highs. Distinguishing them is crucial because bipolar disorder is treated differently, with effective medications to stabilize mood.

    Dysthymia: Personality-Linked Depression

    Some people suffer from long-term, mild depression that is part of their personality makeup or style, rather than a bout of depressive illness. Again, this affects modes of treatment.

    Psychotic or Neurotic Depression?

    This distinction, based on supposedly distinct sets of symptoms, is not much used these days, but was commonly used to separate depressions linked to medical conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder from those caused by psychosocial factors.

    Good Luck G

  2. Anxiety is normal in humans, but when it affects every decision you make in life it can ruin lives.


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