Q: What is the distinction between depression and the "blues"?
A: The key differences are how severe your symptoms are and how long they last. It's normal to feel sad for a job loss, illness, death of a loved one, end of a relationship, or money problems. Generally, feeling blue becomes a problem only when the symptoms are severe or don't subside after two weeks or more.
For down days, simple lifestyle and diet changes can help boost your mood naturally:
Limit caffeine intake
Don't overindulge in comfort foods
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Don't isolate yourself
Get more rest, eat well, and exercise. Get outside.
Major depression interferes with sleep, work, and normal activities. About 14.8 million people live with major depression. Anyone, regardless of age or gender, can have depression, though women are more likely to experience it than men.
Also at high risk are people from 45 to 65, without health insurance, who are divorced or have lost a spouse, who are jobless or had depression before.
Common symptoms of major depression include:
Depressed mood, sadness, or feeling tearful, worthless, or empty
Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive guilt
Lack of concentration
Significant weight gain or weight loss
Uninterested in things you formerly enjoyed
Irritability and restlessness
Thoughts of death or suicide
If your symptoms don't go away, meet with your doctor and learn about treatment options.