Is It Depression or Just the Blues?
By Annette E. Barton, ACSW, BCD

Depression is one of the most under diagnosed illnesses in this country.  There are many reasons for this.  One of the biggest reasons is that people have a tendency to believe that there is nothing wrong with them.   They hear many messages from others that minimize their distress.  "Just buck up!"  "What’s your problem?"  "It’s nothing, just get over it."  "It’s all in your head."  Eventually people can start to believe that there is nothing wrong with them and suffer through their depression as if that was normal.  In addition, many patients will go to their physician with a list of physical complaints. Their doctor may wind up prescribing medication to manage the presenting symptoms and miss the root of the problems – depression.

Depression is an actual illness with physiological components.  When a person is depressed their brain is not producing enough "feel good" brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine, etc.  Without the right balance of these chemicals, a person is unable to feel good.  This can be likened to the diabetic who requires insulin because their pancreas is not producing enough of this chemical.  We don’t criticize or stigmatize a person with diabetes for this, yet society will stigmatize a depressed person.

When a person just has "the blues," their symptoms are mild and they only experience this for a brief period of time.  Their mood has little impact on their day-to-day activities.  This is not the case for a person who is depressed.  When a person is moderately depressed, their symptoms have been around for a longer time.  They may still be able to function, but it is becoming harder.  The world is starting to get much grayer.  With severe depression, the person is feeling suicidal and may want to completely withdraw from the world.

Signs of depression:

How can you cope with depression?

2005-2007, Annette Barton, ACSW, BCD

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The information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or in any other way substitute for the assistance of a professional.

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Contact Annette:
4660 Marsh Rd.
P.O. Box 684
Okemos, MI  48805-0684
(517) 347-7457


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