Depression vs. Low Mood
A low mood is usually triggered by current stresses; for example, disappointments, stress, financial worries, limiting physical disorders or conflict with other people. People affected by low mood feel more exhausted, more thin-skinned or more restless than usual. Some people need more time for themselves, while others try to distract themselves or confide their problems in trusted people such as friends or relatives. A low mood is not a psychological illness. It reflects the current emotional state in the context of current events.
Depression, on the other hand, can develop if a variety of stress factors occur at the same time or a low mood lasts for more than two weeks. Women are affected by this illness around twice as often as men. Doctors differentiate the following severities depending on the number of main and additional symptoms: minor depressive episode, moderate depressive episode, major depressive episode.
Are depression and a low mood a dangerous combination?
Many people experience phases from time to time in which they feel down, restless, tired, sad and lack drive. Often, such a depth of emotion passes after one or two weeks. However, if the negative thoughts and feelings last for longer and are more severe than usual, this is generally a low mood that, in the worst-case scenario, can lead to serious depression.
The causes of low moods or depression are completely different. These include diseases affecting the metabolism (for example diabetes) and neurological diseases. Furthermore, severe infectious diseases and heart disease have a major effect on the psyche. Older people are affected especially often by illnesses and major changes in their life and are more at risk of developing a low mood. Medications can also trigger a low mood in older people, or also young people.
Diagnosis of a low mood or in the worst case scenario depression is not always easy. If typical signs persist for longer than two weeks this can indicate an episode of depression.
The main symptoms include:
- Persistent low mood
- Lack of drive and exhaustion
- Loss of pleasure and lack of interest
- Increased fatigue
Additional symptoms may include:
- Feelings of self-doubt and inferiority
- Feelings of guilt
- Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
- Sleep disorders
- Changes in appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
Furthermore, other characteristic symptoms include:
- Lack of emotion
- Loss of libido
- Physical symptoms
Regardless of the cause, depression is treated with medication and/or psychotherapy. The medications are primarily antidepressants. In contrast to painkillers or sedatives, it generally takes around 10 to 14 days before the patient starts to see an initial improvement of their symptoms. Therefore, it is important for people who are affected take the prescribed medication consistently and do not discontinue the medication of their own accord due to a perceived lack of effectiveness. The active participation of the patient is a prerequisite for beneficial psychotherapy. Therefore, the psychotherapeutic conversation can only take place after preparatory treatment with antidepressants if the depression is severe. The most suitable psychotherapeutic method is defined in a personal therapy concept between the doctor and patient.
Depth psychological study reveals a hidden structure. Our contemporary culture is geared towards maximising happiness and promises everyone unlimited achievement. So the interesting question is: How does a depression with its never-ending sadness, the feeling of paralysis or isolation equate to the maxim that everyone forges their own destiny?
A current Pascoe study by the Rheingold Institute sheds light on the problem. In two-hour probing interviews, the interviewers triggered a wave of narratives, which downright inundated the interviewers. Amazing findings were brought to light on the structure of depressive moods extending far beyond a biologistic-genetic or medical-chemical consideration.
This structure results in courses of action for ways out of the depression:
- Openly confront your own aspirations and put them into perspective
- Incorporate some room for manoeuvre into your daily life: extended breaks, open days, moments for boredom and idleness
- Have confidence not only to use the label depression but also to share with others how you are really feeling
- Set priorities in your everyday life: Try out little imperfect intermediate steps
- Radiate energy outwards and open your horizon beyond the symptoms
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Hygiene for the psyche instead of a gentle wash cycle:
- Defend yourself actively
- Mourn losses or setbacks - do not just accept them
- Also, make yourself unpopular
Be willing to take constraints not only as an affront but as an impulse to actively call yourself and your environment into question.
If depression and despondency continue for long or they constantly dominate your daily life, you should not fail to consult your physician or alternative practitioner.
- Be aware that depression is not due to personal failure or a character defect.
- Talk with friends and a therapist.
- Learn to say "NO"!
- Benefit from the sun and sport's capacity to heal: get plenty of exercise in the fresh air.
- Sleep at regular times and do not retire to bed during the day.
- Do not put yourself under pressure, but set specific and clear goals for the day.
- Do not hold back your tears; they can release pressure.
- Learn and do regular relaxation exercises (yoga, autogenic training, Tai Chi).
- Find out more about "the secret logic of depression".
Shop for Pascoe remedies here.