Grief in loss experiences or a depressive mood in difficult life circumstances are the ups and downs of life and represent a healthy response to the sometimes bitter side of life. But where does the depressive mood stop and where does a depression requiring treatment begin? To speak of a depressive illness, a number of other signs must be added. In addition, they must last at least for a period of two weeks. It is important to take a depression like other illnesses seriously and treat them consistently.
Important: recognize depression
Everybody is once depressed in the colloquial sense. Experts call this "depressive mood" - and it is part of life, like feelings of happiness or "butterflies in the stomach". The distinction between a depressive mood and a depression requiring treatment is important, because if this is not done, people suffering from depression are not taken seriously in their suffering.
"Depression is a serious, often life-threatening, condition that is more painful than most other illnesses, and for many sufferers, the condition is so unbearable that they wish to fall asleep and not wake up, and out of their desperation, they wear it not infrequently thinking of killing oneself ", says Prof. Ulrich Hegerl, psychiatrist at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, to consider suicidality.
When is a depression in need of treatment?
The presence of depression requiring treatment should be considered if, in addition to the depressive mood, the following signs are present:
- a leaden heaviness and powerlessness, which means that seriously ill people can no longer self-supply
- Appetite disorders with weight loss
- persistent sleep disorders
- tendency to brood
- a deep-seated inability to feel any pleasure.
Many sufferers experience themselves as petrified and are trapped in deep hopelessness. Some develop totally exaggerated guilt feelings or the conviction that they are terminally ill.
Depression needs to be treated
On the basis of such symptoms, it is usually very safe for the doctor to distinguish a depressive illness from a comprehensible depressive mood in severe circumstances. Since depression can be treated well with the help of psychotherapy and / or antidepressants, it is important that the diagnosis of "depression" is not overlooked.
The family doctor, a specialist (psychiatrist or neurologist) or a psychological psychotherapist are the right contact persons. A first rough assessment can also provide a self-test on depression. Once the diagnosis has been made, it is advisable to get more information about the disease and its treatment.