Depression is the state of mind when the person feels sad andlow, loses interest in most activities, has a low self -esteem and feels guilty all the time. They do not enjoy good food or the company of people close to them. In severe cases, they do not feel like living any more. Depression differs from day to day unhappiness, gloominess or dullness in that the symptoms :

  • Are out of proportion to an apparent cause; if present.(e.g. a person who has lost a pen reacts as if he has lost a car).
  • last for at least two weeks.
  • Cause a significant change from the person’s usual self  so that others can easily note the change in attitude of the person towards life.

Terms generally confused with Depression

  • Sadness – Sadness and joy are normal emotions in response to any disappointment or achievement respectively. This form of emotion is adaptive and universal and does not require treatment.
  • Grief – Is a subjective feeling brought on by loss of a loved one either by death or separation. Grief and depression may share many features like sadness, tearfulness, loss of appetite, poor sleep and a general indifference to surroundings. But a feeling of guilt and worthlessness is not seen in grief.Grief is time limited it usually lasts for six months to one year. It is usually a normal statethat responds to support and passage of time while depression is a condition requiring medical help.
  • Mourning – It is a set of normal cultural behaviour and practices observed after the death of a loved one to express grief.

Bereavement – It is a normal state of grief related to loss of a loved one thatbegins within two months of the loss and does not persist beyond two months. It is usually self limiting but may need medical evaluation, as the person may go into major depressive disorder.