The Difference Between
Low Mood and Depression
Feelings of sadness, anxiousness, and irritability could be signs of a low mood or they could be symptoms of depression. A low mood could be caused by a stressful situation in your life but depression is a diagnosed mental health concern that generally needs some kind of treatment. Depression can start as a low mood so it’s best for an individual to monitor themself to determine if the low mood has changed into something more.
Challenging events and experiences with which people struggle to cope can result in a low mood or depression. Some examples of situations that could cause a low mood or depression might be relationship problems, grief, sleep problems, stress at work or school, being bullied, and chronic illness or pain. These are only some of the possible reasons for a low mood or depression. Anything in life that causes stress can also cause a low mood or even depression.
It’s also possible to experience a low mood or depression without there being a clear reason or a triggering event. No matter what the circumstances, it’s important to know that low mood and depression are not permanent conditions and that there are lots of ways to begin to feel better.
Signs and symptoms to look out for:
A general low mood can include:
- feeling anxious or panicky
- low self-esteem
A low mood will likely lift after a few days or weeks. You can make some small changes in your life that can make a positive impact on your mood. Things like working out a difficult situation, talking about your problems or getting more sleep, can usually improve your mood. There is also lots of research that says that physical activity can be very effective to lift your mood.
A low mood that doesn’t go away can be a sign of depression.
Depression can include:
- low mood lasting two weeks or more
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling hopeless
- feeling tired or lacking energy
- not being able to concentrate on everyday things like reading the paper or watching television
- comfort eating or losing your appetite
- sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself
Take a Depression Self-Screening Test
MDABC’s partner HereToHelp.bc.ca offers mental health screening tests.
“While these self-tests can’t always take every situation or events that affect wellness into account, they can give you a snapshot of your feelings. Simply taking a few minutes to think about the way you feel can help guide you to areas of your life that need extra attention, regardless of your self-test results. It’s also a good way to learn about signs and symptoms to watch out for, even if you’re feeling okay right now.
Remember, your self-test results are not a substitute for a medical diagnosis. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your health and wellness, it’s best to talk to your doctor or other health care provider. However, these self-tests are a good way to start a conversation with your doctor or someone else who’s supporting you. You can even print out your results and bring them to your appointment. This can be very helpful if you’re nervous about talking with your doctor or have a hard time describing what you’re feeling.” -From heretohelp.bc.ca