Clinical Depression or Depressed Mood?

Updated: May 11

“Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder.

It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.” (Mayo Clinic)


Today I want to discuss the significant differences between Clinical depression and having a depressed mood. Often the thing that differentiates them most is the duration and intensity of the symptoms.

In clinical depression you will find that your symptoms are extremely intense and they may last for weeks with little to no break.


Remember that if you find yourself experiencing these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention from a health care professional who can properly assess what is happening.


Here are a few of the most common symptoms.


· Difficulty functioning – You may find even the most simple tasks difficult to do. Normal daily activities may seem impossible – going to work, getting out of bed, food preparation are just a few examples.


· Lack of coping skills – You may find it difficult to manage stressful situation and feel a loss of control. You may feel angry, have outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters


· Sleep issues – Although you lack energy and the desire to get out of bed, you are having difficulty sleeping. Lack of sleep only compounds the issue and makes coping even more difficult. On the other hand, some people find that all they want to do is sleep, but they don’t feel rested.


· Relationship issues – Lack of interaction with your spouse and other people in your life can cause concern and friction.


· Suicidal thoughts - Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame, Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide. Remember that if you find yourself experiencing these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention from a health care professional who can properly assess what is happening and get the help you need.


A depressed mood is different in that it is often situational – death, medical issue, family issues, etc. that often improves over time. Here are some of the symptoms you may notice if you are depressed.


· Symptoms come and go – Unlike clinical depression, you may find that your symptoms are not consistent.


· Still able to function – Although it can be difficult, you are still able to function and perform your day to day activities such as going to work or working out.


· You can still laugh – despite feeling depressed, you can still see humour in situations.


· Coping Skills – regardless of how you are feeling, you are still able to cope with everyday stressors. You may feel somewhat irritable or frustrated, but your ability to cope is not impaired to the point that you are completely unable to deal with a situation.


For more information about Hope Wellness Services, please visit my website at hopewellnessservices.ca