Stress vs. Depression

(ARA) – Times of sadness, stress and anxiety are common to everyone and can be triggered by numerous factors. In response to tough situations, about 25 percent of Americans will experience sadness that may seem like depression, but the good news is that these feelings are often temporary.

Sometimes, overwhelming feelings of sadness remain persistent and significantly interfere with a person’s behavior, physical health and interaction with others. In these situations, depression could be the underlying cause.

Depression can be serious and is most likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Depression can be linked to substance abuse and even suicide. If you feel sad, worthless, and hopeless every day for two weeks or more, it’s time to take a mental health screening to see if you are at-risk for depression.

Anonymous, online screenings are available at  Screening for depression and other mood disorders is important as it allows you to identify warning signs early on, before things become serious.  Depression screenings can help you determine whether what you are experiencing is a simple case of the blues or something more serious that requires seeing a health professional.

“Just like any other disease, there are certain risk factors that can lead to depression,” says Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, president of Screening for Mental Health, a non-profit organization committed to promoting the improvement of mental health. “It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of depression, such as changes in appetite, loss of energy or loss of interest in your usual activities, as well as the necessary steps you can take to improve your health.”

Depression can cloud your mind, zap your energy and make anyone feel discouraged. It can be difficult to take action and get help, but there are ways you can help yourself, starting right now. First, take a free, anonymous screening at  Additionally, you can try these self-care tips:

Take care of your mind and body:

  • – Take part in activities you usually enjoy (movies, concerts, community events, sporting events, etc.)
  • – Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • – Get enough sleep.

Focus on what’s doable:

  • – Do not expect to suddenly “snap out” of your depression.
  • – If you have a decision you feel overwhelmed by, discuss it with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • – Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can, as you can.

Celebrate small steps:

  • – Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • – Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
  • – Remind yourself that positive thoughts will replace negative feelings as your depression responds to treatment.

If you or someone you love is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide please call 911 immediately. If you are not in immediate danger but need to talk to someone, you can call the national suicide prevention line at 800-273-8255.

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