Am I Just Sad or Clinically Depressed?


Comments Off on Am I Just Sad or Clinically Depressed? Ask Dr. Deb

Hi, Dr. Deb…I was wondering how a person can tell if you are just depressed because of a situation or circumstances, or how you know when you are clinically depressed? 

It is sometimes difficult to sort out the difference between situational depression and a true clinical depression as the symptoms can be the same.

As doctors, we often differentiate the two, based on the length of time someone has had symptoms. If the symptoms have occurred in response to a situation alone (for instance, a death of someone very close, divorce, job loss, etc.), they will often last just a few weeks.  If they last longer than that or persist after the situation has improved, you may be looking at clinical depression.

 Clinical depression occurs when the brain becomes deficient in several chemicals, mainly serotonin and dopamine. It is often difficult for the brain to rebuild the stores of those chemicals without help from medication.

 There are many misconceptions about depression. Having depression does not mean you are”crazy”.

Depression is a common MEDICAL illness that can be treated, usually fairly easily.


While a depressed person can feel sad, many simply feel “blah” or have lost pleasure in the day to day joys of life. A comment I have heard often is, “I feel like I am just existing. I can get through the days but have no fun”. 

Other symptoms of depression include: irritability, poor sleep, excess sleep, feeling anxious, change in

appetite, and lack of concentration. If you are unsure of your symptoms, it is a good idea to talk to your health care provider. There are simple screening tools that can help in determining whether or not your symptoms may be due to depression. 

I believe God wants us to be able to experience all He has for us with joy and thanksgiving! If you are currently without any joy in your day to day life, consider whether depression may be the joy-buster in your life.

 Yours in Health and In Him,

Dr. Deb