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03 Sep Depression vs. Sadness- How to Tell the Difference

One of the most common co-occurring disorders accompanying addiction is depression. This disorder can leave us feeling unmotivated, tired, and can even cause physical pain. It can be impossible to manage addiction when depression is rocking the boat, so it’s essential that this disorder be treated as well. Recognizing the symptoms of depression can let us know when it’s time to get more help, and can help us to avoid an addiction relapse. Sometimes what we mistake for run-of-the-mill sadness is actually mild depression. If we can learn to recognize bouts of depression early, we’ll be much more successful at managing it.

What Sad Feels Like

If you’re feeling sad, but you don’t really have a reason, or if you feel disproportionately sad over something upsetting, you may be experiencing depression. Sadness can usually be attached to a specific cause, and only lasts for a couple of weeks at most. Even in extreme cases of loss, you will feel yourself finding humor in life, and connecting with others through sadness, whereas depression will rob you of these feelings. Sadness is an emotion that you will be able to express and explain to others, while depression may feel more mysterious and difficult to pin down.

Emotional Symptoms of Depression

There are some pretty specific emotions associated with depression, and experiencing any of them should act as a warning sign that we’re headed into danger.

Lack of Pleasure: If you feel unable to enjoy activities that you usually do, or have lost interest in people or activities that are important to you, these are signs of depression.

Persistent Sadness: Depression may be occurring if you feel sad most of the time, on most days, for an extended period of time.

Negative Self-Talk: Depression is running the show when your thoughts are focused on your own worthlessness, guilt, shame, or thoughts of death.

Physical Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a disorder that doesn’t just affect our minds, it affects our bodies too. Some of the physical symptoms of depression include :

Fluctuations in Appetite: Wanting to eat more for comfort, or losing your appetite altogether. This can lead to fluctuations in weight as well.

Disturbed Sleep Patterns: Feeling tired no matter how much sleep you get, or being unable to sleep, even though you’re tired.

Achiness: Achy joints, headaches, and/or a general sense of not feeling well.

Cloudy Mind: Having trouble concentrating, experiencing forgetfulness, and memory problems.

If you’re dealing with depression as a co-occurring disorder, and are experiencing any of these symptoms, ask for help right away. The sooner you obtain treatment for depression, the less damage it can do to your recovery process.

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