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Depression Vs. Unhappiness

Depression Vs. Unhappiness

Do you know the difference between depression and unhappiness? Can you tell if someone is just unhappy or suffers with severe depression? Learn how to tell the difference in this article.
PsycholoGenie Staff
depress girl
More than ever, nowadays our minds are most often bombarded with bad news. Everything that happens to us triggers a movie scene, or something seen on the news, from a TV show, and so on. This may cause somebody to feel depressed. This specific mental condition is determined by several etiologic factors such as genetic factors (family history, for instance), some other medical problems (like a viral infection), a certain type of medication, hormonal changes (PMS or postpartum), drugs, alcohol or other psychological troubles. Depression can also be caused by extreme stress or the loss of someone dear.
There are persons who can get depressed even under the best living conditions. Although the exact causes of major depression are not yet fully known, researchers consider that it may be caused by a malfunction at the level of brain neurotransmitters. In other words, it's related to the chemical substances that influence one's mood.
Unhappiness is often mistaken for depression. But there is a major difference between these two, and unfortunately people who are diagnosed with depression because they are in fact unhappy with their own lives, may take medication that does not help them at all. Psychiatrists say that diagnosing unhappiness as depression began in the 21st century, as a consequence of an intelligent marketing strategy.
Experts say that at least one adult out of 5 is diagnosed with depression at least once in his lifetime. This indeed can be highly productive for the pharmacological industry, since people spend a huge amount of money on medication. It's very normal to feel sad or even unhappy, but nowadays even normal mental states are diagnosed as depression and treated as such. On the other hand, Professor Ian Hickle from the Sydney University has stated that diagnosing unhappy moods as depression and treating them has reduced the number of suicides, and has increased the affected people's work productivity.
But how do we recognize a depressed person? What are the exact symptoms? Apparently, a person may suffer from depression if he/she keeps having certain symptoms for at least two weeks. Among these symptoms we could mention losing interest in any pleasurable activities, including the loss of sexual appetite; being too slow or agitated to the point of becoming unable to relax; changes in appetite, followed by losing or gaining weight; the appearance of a pessimist mood, dominated by death or suicide-related thoughts; suicidal attempts; incapacity to concentrate, to think straight, to memorize things or make decisions. All these may be accompanied by permanent exhaustion, which may lead to insomnia.
If somebody has at least five of these symptoms, for at least 2 weeks, it's possible for that person to suffer from major depression and because of that he/she must see a therapist for establishing an exact diagnosis. But if these symptoms are temporary or if they manifest frequently, yet for a short period of time, these people may be diagnosed as unhappy and do not need to take medication.
Depression is very much like bad mood or unhappiness, but in the case of depression, these symptoms can get aggravated through time and can last for months or even years. Thus, the patient can only think of catastrophes, losing jobs, the death of someone dear, breaking a relationship, and so on. The patient may gradually become more and more lonely, bored, helpless, and extremely sad and overwhelmed by the troubles in his/her life.
It's essential to have a proper diet when trying to fight and treat depression. Thus, the occurrence of the very first symptoms may be related to the fluctuations in blood glucose levels, which requires an immediate intake of sugary products (except for people suffering from diabetes) or sweet fruits. Sugar is brain's essential fuel, and it is indispensable for cognitive functions and maintaining a general good mood. Out of all the sugary products, chocolate is the basic ingredient for producing serotonin, especially in the case of depressed young people. Beetroot and ocean fish such as tuna, cod, and salmon are also excellent for regaining emotional balance. Apart from beetroot, there are also some other antidepressant vegetables such as carrots, spinach, celery, cabbage, onion, garlic or parsley. Fruits such as apricots, apples, cherries, grapes and currants are also excellent natural fighters against depression.