Difference between Grief and Depression

Difference between Grief and DepressionThe differences between grief and depression are not easy to spot. Both conditions look similar and cause similar effects. These effects may include the following:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Listlessness
  • Decreased energy
  • Fatigue
  • Episodes of tears
  • Intense sadness
  • Increased/decreased appetite

The effects of grief and depression can impact a person’s daily life, and they may lead to a desire to self-medicate. However help is available for those who need to manage both grief and depression.

What Is Grief?

Grief is the natural reaction to the loss of a loved one or cherished possession or to a major life change. Everyone experiences different symptoms and reacts in different ways when faced with grief. However grief typically works through the following stages:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages appear to be universal, but the physical and mental symptoms of grief vary from person to person. Everyone works through these stages at their own pace and has different experiences while doing so. While you can take steps to deal with your grief in positive ways, grief cannot be medically treated. It naturally lessens over time. It is a natural cycle that must be allowed to take its course. If grief is not experienced fully, it cannot be processed and individuals cannot move forward with their lives. Often it is helpful for grievers to attend counseling sessions or to talk to a therapist who is trained to coach people safely through the grieving process.

What Is Depression?

Depression is considered to be a natural stage of the grieving process. However depression becomes dangerous when, instead of moving on to the next phase of grief, individuals become clinically depressed. Depression is a state of being that worsens over time as opposed to being a reaction to an event. During the grieving process an individual is still able to feel positive emotions and function normally. A griever will experience melancholy but will still be able to remember and feel the happiness of past memories. A person who is clinically depressed feels completely numb and can’t be stimulated by friends, positive emotions or distraction. Depression is considered to be a mental health issue can be treated with prescription medication.

How Addiction Relates to Grief and Depression

Grief and depression often go hand and hand with addiction. Grief is a condition that gradually fades away, but many people try to erase its effects more quickly with mood-altering drugs or alcohol. This is a form of self-medication. Instead of seeking the help of a professional counselor or therapist, grievers try to relieve the sadness and pain that they feel through substance abuse. This can also be true of those suffering from depression. Often, depressed individuals abuse stimulants or other drugs to combat the numbness that they feel. The unfortunate side effect of any continued drug abuse is addiction, and addiction will only add to the grief and depression symptoms an individual experiences.

Help for Those Dealing with Grief or Depression

If you are suffering from depression or grief, call our toll-free helpline. Our recovery counselors are available 24 hours a day and can offer you healthy ways to deal with your feelings. Don’t turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate your pain. Call us now, and let us help you.