Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Depressed, Just Not Sad

I'm not sure how much, if any, literature exists on depression sans sadness. I've seen it revealed so often in clinical practice, but how do we identify it, understand it? In common usage of the word "depressed," the speaker is often referring to the all-too-human condition of sadness. "I'm so depressed because I'm broke," we might hear one say.From a clinician's viewpoint, "depression" is diagnosed when there is a constellation of "symptoms" such as decreased appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, lack of joie de vivre, and most significantly, a negative self-referral system ("I'm useless anymore," "Nobody cares about me," "I'm a terrible parent," etc).In fact, this self-deprecation is the hallmark of true depression. The relative battering one's self-esteem has endured is how we can separate the depressive from the sad. Feeling sad is part of how we're built; feeling depressed is the product of self-flagelltion run amok.That, then, is perhaps why there are so many cases in which an individual is depessed without feeling sad. At the end of a day flled with self-reprisals, the feelings would likely be numbed.Sphere: Related Content

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