Everyone gets sad from time to time. The same can be said about depression. But whereas the first is often situational, the second can be triggered by a myriad of causes, with symptoms dragging on for months on end. Depression can have serious consequences for your physical and mental wellbeing.
WHAT IS SADNESS?
Psychologist Guy Winch defines feeling sad in this way: “Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes, when our emotional hurt fades, when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits.”
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression is more severe, with symptoms lasting for months. The Mayo Clinic says, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.”
KETAMINE THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION
Ketamine is a medicine that’s been around for a long time – more than 60 years, in fact. Its original design was for anesthesia, and it first saw widespread use during the Vietnam War to treat U.S. soldiers who were injured in combat. Around the same time, doctors and scientists discovered that ketamine had other useful applications; namely, as a therapy for people experiencing symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, and other ailments that were non-responsive to other medicine or physical or psychological therapy.
Today, people experiencing symptoms of depression often receive a referral from their doctor for licensed ketamine therapy.
DEPRESSION: MORE THAN JUST BEING SAD
When talking about depression and sadness, it’s important to note that sadness is a normal human emotion triggered by an event or experience, but the feeling eventually fades, and you return to a normal life without the use of therapy or medicine. If you’re depressed, you’re suffering from a mental illness where you’re sad about everything and it disrupts thoughts, feelings, behavior, and your ability to function in daily life. Depression is more than sadness.
A GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS
Depression is the most serious mental health illness globally, affecting nearly 300 million people, with 16 million in the U.S reporting one or more depressive episodes in a given year. The World Health Organization calls depression a “leading cause of disability worldwide” and notes it affects more women than men.
SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS
You may be depressed if you experience any of the following.
- Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
- Anger, irritation, or frustration, even over trivial issues
- Losing interest or pleasure in things you looked forward to, like relationships, sports or hobbies
- You have trouble sleeping, either too much or too little
- You’re tired and have low energy, with even small tasks requiring maximum effort
- Daily eating habits result in noticeable weight loss or weight gain, brought on by eating too little or binge eating
- You’re anxious, agitated, or restless
- You appear to talk, think, or move slowly
- You’re obsessed with past failures, self-blame, and feel worthless or guilty
- You have trouble concentrating, thinking, making decisions, and memory issues
- You find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts
- You fixate on unexplained physical troubles, like headaches or back pain
Risk factors include gender, family history, and overall mental health.
If you’re constantly sad – hurt or disappointed – and your emotions interfere with daily life (working, going to school, or interacting with family and friends), you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Before getting referred for ketamine therapy, you’ll first need to be diagnosed by a doctor or mental healthcare professional.
FIND THE RIGHT TREATMENT
A diagnosis normally involves a physical and psychiatric evaluation where a doctor or therapist will look for a physical or psychological cause for your depression, review personal and family history of mental illness, offer a diagnosis, and then recommend treatment. In many cases, you’ll be referred for in-person counseling, the use of antidepressants, or newer options like ketamine therapy to treat symptoms of depression.
Recognizing the differences between depression and sadness is the first step in getting diagnosed and finding treatment, like ketamine therapy, that will help control its symptoms. Depression and other mental illnesses affect everyone differently, so it’s important to have all the facts so you can make an informed treatment decision.