Differentiating Depression from Sadness

Differentiating Depression from Sadness

Differentiating depression from sadness can be difficult. Individuals may be sad and claim to be depressed, while individuals who are depressed may tell themselves and others they are only sad.  Depression is a clinical diagnosis, which if left untreated can worsen overtime, whereas sadness is a temporary emotion based on a specific event that dissipates over time.

What Is Depression?

Although depression and sadness can have similar signs and/or symptoms, there are certain ways to distinguish one from another. Included in the following are some examples of some of the warning signs of depression:

  • Reoccurring thoughts of suicide or death
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities on a daily basis
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness

One of the most apparent signs an individual is suffering from depression is either a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities one once enjoyed. For a diagnosis of depression, one must present the above signs on a daily basis for at least a period of two weeks. Additionally, the depressive symptoms would need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment, which could not be caused by the direct effects of a substance, such as a medication. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people suffering from a depressive illness don’t all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms are dependent on the individual’s particular illness.

What Is Sadness?

Sadness is a normal emotion that every human experiences. Included in the following are some examples on how sadness varies from depression:

  • Not constant
  • Can be interrupted by positive experiences
  • Dissipates over time

Although sadness can cause some of the same feelings as depression, these feelings are not constant and are often temporary. These feelings do not occur every moment of every day, unlike depression.  Sadness can be interrupted by laughter, whereas depression doesn’t budge. Unlike depression, sadness may reduce one’s ability to enjoy life for the moment, but does not destroy it all together. Although sadness may seem to last for a long period of time, it does not remain constant for weeks or months like depression.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing depression and/or substance abuse, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained and professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. Your life is worth the call, so call us today!