Depression vs. the Blues



It can be difficult to differentiate depression from a normal episode of "the blues." Everyone experiences the blues because of troubling events such as the loss of a loved one, job difficulties, money problems, family issues or illness. Most cases of the blues disappear quickly and do not prevent us from finding enjoyment. The key component of depression is that the pervasive feeling of sadness exists most days for a period of two weeks. Take the self-assessment quiz and see.

Such normal emotional reactions to stressful events often are diagnosed as grief (loss of a loved one) or an adjustment disorder (emotional reaction to a clearly identified source of stress, such as relationship, job or financial issues). With or without treatment, these feelings typically improve. Treatment may be helpful in developing healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with the source of grief or stress. In severe cases, these episodes could lead to major depression.

If it is a bad case of the blues, consider seeking professional help if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Is your mood interfering with your personal relationships or your job performance?
  • Have these feelings lasted for longer than two weeks?
  • Is your stress from a single, identified stress (example: serious illness of child) that does not have a clear end in sight?
  • Are you beginning to feel worthless or guilty about the situation?
  • Is the stress not allowing you to find happiness in other parts of your life?

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Oct 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

It's not having been in the dark house, but having left it, that counts.
-- Theodore Roosevelt