• Joanna Bloss

Quick Question: What's the Difference Between Depression and a Down Mood?

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

As the weather changes and the days get a little darker, a lot of people seem to notice a dip in their mood. Sometimes it can be a fine line between having a down mood and being clinically depressed. Here are some important distinctions:

  • Types of symptoms - A down mood is generally a temporary feeling of being "bummed out" or discouraged. Usually this is dependent on circumstances, and a down mood often turns around on its own pretty quickly. On the other hand, depression symptoms are less dependent on circumstances, and often are characterized by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, a lack of enjoyment of things that normally would bring joy, fatigue, changes in sleep or appetite, feelings of guilt and difficulty concentrating. More serious depressed thoughts can include thoughts of suicide, or wishing you could go to sleep and not wake up.

  • The length of time - A down mood can typically last a few hours or a few days. For a diagnosis of depression, symptoms must be present for at least 2 weeks.

  • Response to behavior changes - Often with a down mood, a person starts feeling better after going for a walk, taking a shower, talking with a friend, or doing something enjoyable. Depression symptoms tend not to lift after doing these things, or if so, the effect is temporary.

  • The degree to which symptoms interfere with life - Typically, people with a down mood are able to go about their lives, going to work and keeping up with family responsibilities and self-care. Depressed individuals find that their symptoms cause impairment in their normal activities and have difficulty completing even basic tasks like showering, cleaning, and work activities.

There are some very significant differences between depression and a down mood, and sometimes these can be difficult to distinguish. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you care about, please call us at 317-743-8202 to set up an evaluation. Additionally, remember that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are ALWAYS cause for concern and should be addressed immediately by a mental health professional. Call 911 or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.

Need more? If you are feeling stuck and need some outside help in managing your communication, emotions, or relationships, our team at Generations

Counseling is available! Give us a call at 317-743-8202 or email at: info@generationsindy.com today.

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