How Does Depression Differ From Occasional Sadness?

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Ohio Psychological Association Encourages Screening in Recognition of National Depression Screening Day on October 9

There is a difference between occasional sadness or ‘the blues’ and depression. Screening is important as a way to begin to distinguish between a transient sadness and depression that requires treatment

Everyone experiences sadness from time to time, but depression is more than occasional sadness. October 9 is National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), an annual event to raise awareness of the disease and offer screenings for related mood and anxiety disorders.

Depression, if untreated, can have harmful effects on the mind and body. It can cause disruptions to daily life and research shows that it may be linked to various chronic illnesses.

"There is a difference between occasional sadness or ‘the blues’ and depression. Screening is important as a way to begin to distinguish between a transient sadness and depression that requires treatment," said OPA Committee on Social Responsibility Chair Dr. Mary Miller Lewis.

Symptoms of depression can include lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, difficult or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, problems concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and possibly recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. With proper acknowledgement and care from family, friends and mental health providers, depression is highly treatable.

Contrary to popular belief, people with depression cannot simply “snap out of it” and feel better right away. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can seem untreatable, but even severe cases can be effectively treated.

The public is encouraged to participate in screening events or take an anonymous depression screening online at http://www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. There are screening programs geared specifically toward military personnel and their families, college students, employees and the general public.

To learn more about depression and mind/body health, visit http://www.apa.org/helpcenter and follow us on Twitter at @APAHelpCenter. To find out more about the Ohio Psychological Association visit http://www.ohpsych.org and follow us on Twitter at @ohpsychassn.

Located in Columbus, OH, the Ohio Psychological Association is a membership organization of approximately 1,600 Ohio psychologists. Its mission is to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

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Heather Gilbert
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since: 05/2010
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Ohio Psychological Association
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