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Am I Really Depressed or Just Exhausted?


June 25, 2020, 2:22 a.m.


Depression is a common mental health issue that affects the daily life routine of a person. It is a mood disorder that involves feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities and can cause distressing symptoms that may affect how you think and feel.

We have similar symptoms of depression but these can be caused by several other conditions also.


Symptoms Of Depression: 


  • Feeling tired all the time

  • Getting no motivation for the things you used to enjoy

  • Lack of energy

  • You have trouble sleeping or you are sleeping a lot

The above symptoms are often caused due to depression but there is enough possibility that they could be caused by several other conditions also, for example, chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid problems. Although probably less likely, but it’s even possible that you have sleep apnea, an autoimmune disorder, or fibromyalgia.

The stats on depression and sleep


It’s pretty obvious for our mind and body to feel fogginess and fatigue when we are sleep deprived. But, the important thing is how we can tell if we are just really exhausted or we are actually going through depression. 

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 3 adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep and as per TOI, 93% of Indians are sleep deprived and the statistics of depression around the world are equally sobering. According to the World Health Organization,  about 300 million people receive diagnoses with anxiety and depression, and as per the reports of the National Sleep Foundation, about 20 million people around the world have depression who also have trouble with insomnia and restless sleep.


If you are exhausted due to lack of sleep then you can experience similar symptoms of depression, such as:

  • Lack of motivation

  • Loss of energy

  • Lack of concentration

  • Irritability


However, people having depression can have trouble sleeping, whether it’s staying asleep, falling asleep, or just sleeping too much.

So, how can you find the difference that you are just exhausted or actually going through depression? Which problem came first? While it is hard to tell, but it turns out there are many ways to tell the difference.


Read Your Body Signals

According to sleep experts, psychiatrists, “Sleep is the tips of the iceberg of our mind’s state”. People can notice much easier that sleep is off because it is very objective, thus it very easy to investigate if something else is disturbed.


Daytime sleepiness seems very obvious as the main symptom of sleep deprivation. Other symptoms and signs include:

  • Fatigue and fogginess

  • Increased appetite

  • Mood swings

  • Feeling forgetful or fuzzy

  • Decreased sexual desire

On the other side, symptoms and signs of depression include: 

  • Insomnia

  • Lack of concentration

  • Lack of energy

  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness

  • Thoughts of suicide


There is a good line between depression and sleep deprivation, but this can blur, completely depending upon how you are feeling and experiencing. Experts often pose questions to their clients that can help to get to the root of the problem. These questions can be, do you actually want to do the things but can do thighs because you are feeling less energetic, or if you just simply not interested in the first place not for the ones you once enjoyed doing. Most of the time, tired people still have the interest to do things.


You should trace the timing of symptoms


There is another way of differentiation between depression and sleep deprivation, that is, timing.

Depression can be characterized by a time span of two or more weeks of a consistent lack of interest, low mood, and loss of motivation in doing pleasurable things. This is extreme and will not be up after some days.


If any of the concern exceeds for about a week and affecting your quality of life, it ‘s probably a time to inform your doctor and seek help.


How treatments are different for depression and sleep deprivation


Whether someone is suffering from depression or not, in all cases of sleep deprivation, it is vital to treat the sleep problem first, as this can try dealing at home only.

For its treatment, you can try things like limiting screen time, regular sleep schedule, and practicing mediation and relaxation before going to bed, all these solutions you can try to treat your sleep deprivation problem. But after all this and for a good period of time if you are noticing your mood swings continues, and your sleep has not improved, you may need further evaluation in this. 


Treatment for depression is different from that for sleep deprivation. This works differently on people. Some can get out depression by limiting alcohol, making lifestyle changes, such as doing yoga, meditation, exercise, and eating a balanced diet. And medications and therapy can help some people. 


You can avoid depression, by getting sufficient sleep, it is the most refreshing and restorative activity if our mid to cope up with everything, bounce back to our normal lives, and it affects everything from mood to energy, to concentration and to focus.




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