The term “depression” has become so deployed that it tends to be used to characterize the slightest touch of the blues. However, if depression is a temporary state, it is a real illness. How to distinguish them? What is the difference between the 2 terms? What are the symptoms? Our answers...

What is being depressed?

In any case, it is perfectly normal to have the blues, to feel sad and tired, to have dark thoughts, to be irritable, to have insomnia or a drop in motivation from time to time. So don’t panic if this condition doesn’t last.

Indeed, during his life the human being experiences a whole range of feelings, from the most sad to the most optimistic. Within this range of emotions, sadness, discouragement and despair represent normal human experiences such as following a bereavement .

But be careful, these mood swings and dips should not be confused with the symptoms experienced by people with depression.

What is depression?

Preconceived ideas are hard to come by… You should know that depression is not linked to a weakness of character and is not a fatality. It is a real disease, which can affect everyone, at any age and which is defined by characteristic symptoms. It can be cured with professional care and appropriate treatment.

The symptoms of depression are:

  • Intense and long-lasting sadness, with a depressed mood that lasts most of the day and is repeated every day.
  • A loss of interest in everyday activities and other activities that were once enjoyed (hobbies, sex, etc.)
  • A intense fatigue (this fatigue is not improved by rest or sleep).

Note: these symptoms, taken in isolation, do not necessarily indicate depression.

Other associated symptoms

  • Changes in appetite or weight, altered sleep: depression can affect the body as well as the mind. Thus, some people may suffer from a lack of appetite while others may compensate by eating more and gaining weight. Similarly, some people will have trouble falling asleep and wake up in the middle of the night, while others will tend to oversleep;
  • Mood swings: in addition to the depressed state, the person may experience other emotional changes. Like an unwarranted sense of guilt, lack of self-confidence and inability. Some people will run away from situations that require them to take responsibility, for fear of doing the wrong thing. Some may also become tense or irritable. This excessive nervousness and feeling of uselessness is often accompanied by dark thoughts that can lead to suicidal impulses;
  • Difficulty concentrating: these symptoms affect concentration and may prevent effective study and work. In extreme cases, trivial tasks can become insurmountable, with an inability, for example, to go to work or even doing your laundry!

Thus, according to the Assurance Maladie, one can only speak of depression if :

  • Symptoms of depression occur (almost) permanently for a period longer than two weeks;
  • At least two symptoms of depression are detected;
  • These symptoms cause significant discomfort in daily life.

To help you define if you are in a state of depression, make an appointment with one of our professionals.