Just the Blues or Clinical Depression: Making the Distinction to Get the Help You Need
Symptoms of Depression
- Persistent sadness, anxiousness, or feeling of emptiness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- Loss of appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling like you are slowed down
- Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
The Need for Treatment
Types of Treatment
- Psychotherapy or counseling
- Prescription medications
- Combination of psychotherapy and medications
Ways to Get Help
- If you need immediate help or if you are having thoughts of death or suicide, call the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
- Talk to your healthcare provider or doctor about your symptoms and treatment options.
- Contact a hospital near your home to determine if they have or can recommend a mood/affective disorder clinic. If not, ask for their referrals to doctors in the community who specialize in the treatment of depression.
- If you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with depression and treatment has not been effective within three months, get a second consultation. Preferably, this should be from a physician who specializes in the treatment of this illness.
Steps to Take for Managing the Blues
- Adjust your expectations. Set realistic goals you can achieve, breaking large tasks into smaller tasks to make them more manageable.
- Be patient with yourself. You may not be able to accomplish everything you usually do. Ask your friends and family for help when needed.
- Postpone important decisions until you are feeling more optimistic.
- Participate in activities that make you feel better, such as spending time with friends, making time for hobbies, traveling, and meditating.
- Increase your social and/or spiritual support.
- Manage stress.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Consider attending a support group or talking with a counselor to help you come up with other strategies to improve your mood and functioning.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance http://www.dbsalliance.org
National Institutes of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca
Mental Health Canada http://www.mentalhealthcanada.com
Antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and adults. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM096273. Updated August 12, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2014.
Depression. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: http://www.psychiatry.org/depression. Accessed March 28, 2014.
Depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 14, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2014.
Depression. National Institutes of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed March 28, 2014.
Depression help guide. Help Guide website. Available at: http://helpguide.org/topics/depression.htm. Accessed March 28, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2014 -
- Update Date: 00/32/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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