How much depression is normal?

How much depression is normal ?

Grief in the event of loss or a depressive mood under challenging circumstances is part of the ups and downs of life and represents a healthy reaction to the sometimes bitter sides of life. But where does the depressive mood end, and where does depression that requires treatment begin? To be able to speak of a depressive illness, several other symptoms must also be present. In addition, these must remain in place for at least two weeks. It is important to take depression seriously and treat it consistently, just like any other illness.

Depression or depressed mood?

Everyone is depressed in the colloquial sense. Experts call this  “depressive mood” – and it is part of life-like feelings of happiness or “butterflies in the stomach”. It is essential to draw the line between a depressive mood and a depression that requires treatment because if this is not removed, people suffering from depression will not be taken seriously in their suffering.

“Depression is a serious, often life-threatening disease that is associated with greater suffering than most other diseases. For many sufferers, the condition is so unbearable that they wish they could fall asleep and not wake up again. Out of their desperation, they carry it not infrequently with the thought of taking one’s own life”, says Prof. Ulrich Hegerl, psychiatrist at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, about suicidality.


When does depression require treatment?

You should consider the presence of a depression that requires treatment if, in addition to the depressive mood, the following signs are also present:

  • a leaden heaviness and lack of strength, which means that the seriously ill can no longer take care of themselves
  • Loss of appetite with weight loss
  • persistent sleep disorders
  • tendency to brood
  • a deep-seated inability to feel any joy.

Many sufferers feel petrified inside and are trapped in deep hopelessness. Some develop excessive feelings of guilt or the belief that they are terminally ill.

Depression needs treatment

On the basis of such signs of illness, it is usually possible for the doctor to distinguish a depressive illness from an understandable depressive mood in severe circumstances. Since depression is easily treatable with the help of psychotherapy and antidepressants, it is essential that the diagnosis of “depression” is not overlooked.

The family doctor, a specialist (psychiatrist or neurologist) or a psychological psychotherapist are the right people to talk to. A self-test on the subject of depression can also provide an initial rough assessment. Once the diagnosis has been made, learning more about the disease and its treatment is advisable.


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