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Am I Depressed or Just Sad? Depression Symptoms You Might Not Know and the Promise of Brain-Based Treatment for Depression

Man suffering from unknown depression symptoms with partner, contemplating if he's depressed or just sad, considering brain-based treatment for depression

What’s the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?

Depression is about being sad, sure—but it’s more than that. Clinical depression is a mental health condition involving a constellation of symptoms that go beyond sadness. These symptoms include feeling exhausted, losing interest in activities you usually enjoy, experiencing significant changes in appetite or weight, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling worthless or excessively guilty, having difficulty thinking or concentrating, or even having recurrent thoughts of death and suicide.

Episodes of depression last at least two weeks at a time, often much longer, and a sad event can trigger them, or they can seemingly come out of nowhere. It’s also important to note that depression can manifest differently in different people. Some might experience more physical symptoms like headaches or stomach problems, while others might experience more emotional symptoms like persistent sadness or irritability.

How Do I Know If I’m Sad or Depressed?

If you’re sad because you lost your job, are going through a breakup, or lost someone in your life… it’s certainly no fun, but it’s also pretty normal. Sadness, even extreme sadness, is a natural reaction to events like these. That said, regular sadness can also turn into depression. If the feelings don’t get better over time, or if your mood starts to get in the way of your daily life, you might develop depression.

For instance, if you find that your sadness is making it hard to get out of bed, go to work, or maintain your relationships, it might be more than just sadness. If you’re losing interest in things you used to enjoy, like hobbies or spending time with friends, that could also be a sign of depression.

Physical changes can also affect your mood. Some examples include hormone changes due to puberty or menopause or certain medical treatments or conditions. If you think you might be depressed, having a doctor review any medications you’re taking and test your thyroid and other hormone levels is a good idea. This is because certain medical conditions and medications can cause symptoms similar to depression, so it’s important to rule these out.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

Dr. Sydney Ceruto, Founder MindLAB Neuroscience

The Promise of Brain-Based Treatment for Depression

When combined with brain-based counseling treatments, neuroscience advancements help us understand how and why people change. The foundation for brain-based therapy comprises neuroscience, attachment theory, and evidence-based treatment. This new therapy model identifies the most relevant aspects of theoretical psychology and those that may be counter-productive.

In brain-based therapy, the therapeutic process provides a way to rewire the brain to affect mood and behavior change. Trained professionals find the root of the problem and, with a combination of developing the therapeutic relationship and providing effective treatment modalities, modify the mental model so that it is stored in a more adaptive way.

One of the beautiful things about brain-based counseling is that the outcome is measurable. Furthermore, brain-based treatments encompass neuroscience, providing a more rapid and long-lasting result than the same issues addressed with talk therapy alone. Brain-based counseling is one of the most researched and effective methods to create this outcome. This treatment helps eliminate (as opposed to reducing) symptoms of not just depression but trauma and anxiety, among other conditions. This modality is also fast becoming an option for conditions that are difficult to treat with other approaches.

Your treatment should be a transformative experience! A strong therapeutic relationship, clearly defined goals, and brain-based treatment modalities can help you get the best outcomes from your counseling and get you back into living your best life. At the conclusion of neuroscientific brain-based treatment, the goal is for each client to see and feel a measurable difference in their mood.

If you’re asking yourself, “Am I depressed or just sad?” and you’re interested in exploring brain-based treatment for depression, consider scheduling a consultation with me, Dr. Sydney Ceruto, Founder of MindLAB Neuroscience. Let’s work together to understand your depression symptoms you might not know and explore the promise of brain-based treatment to abolish your depression or chronic sadness.

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Dr. Sydney Ceruto

A Pioneer in Neuroscience-Based Coaching

As the founder of MindLAB Neuroscience, Dr. Sydney Ceruto has been a leading force in integrating neuroscience into coaching and counseling for over two decades. With three master's degrees in psychology and two PhDs in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, she is widely considered a top expert in her field.

Harnessing the power of neuroscience-based coaching, Dr. Ceruto's innovative approach focuses on neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and neural pathway rewiring to foster lasting positive change in mental health.

Dr. Ceruto holds esteemed memberships in the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, the International Society of Female Professionals, and executive writing positions for Alternatives Watch, Brainz Magazine, and TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Dr. Ceruto's accomplishments include:

  • The 2022 CREA Award.
  • A lead research position at NYU Steinhardt.
  • Volunteer work with Covenant House and the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).

Her science-backed method of Neural Rewiring has successfully guided thousands of clients toward happier, more productive, and more resilient lives.