Understanding How Sadness Is Different From Depression

Understanding How Sadness Is Different From DepressionOftentimes the word “depression” gets tossed around lightly in our conversations. This is because we easily confuse this feeling with sadness – one of its many symptoms, which makes it more challenging to differentiate between the two. Herein lies a major issue because when you can’t differentiate between them, you’re more likely to neglect taking proper care of them.

Defining Sadness vs. Depression

To begin with, you must understand that sadness is a normal emotion that’s triggered when an adverse event or experience occurs. After some time or something good happens, it’ll dissipate – hence it’s a temporary emotion we’ll feel at different times throughout our lives. Most people find relief from it by crying, venting, or talking to someone.

On the other hand, depression is a mental health disorder that effects your feelings about everything. You’ll feel numb and sad so everything becomes less enjoyable, interesting, and important. As such, everything that we used to be passionate about no longer brings about meaning or purpose. Unlike sadness, there’s no specific underlying trigger for this emotion. In fact, many people will tell you that they’re feeling like this “for no real reason.” You may not even notice that they’re suffering because on the surface they appear to have their lives together. However, they’re simply doing a really good job at hiding their emotions behind a mask. In reality, they can barely get out of bed, are struggling to maintain their relationships, feel lonely, and don’t find satisfaction or purpose in life. Due to these things they’re impatient and grow angry quickly. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can just snap out of because it’s more than a state of mind, it’s a mental illness.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

For a person to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) they must feel depressed or find no interest or pleasure in their usual activities for a period of at least two weeks. This must also be accompanied with at least 5 of the following issues:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns including either finding it difficult to fall asleep or sleeping too much
  • Decreased energy or feeling fatigued everyday
  • Changes in appetite including either not eating enough or eating too much resulting in weight gain or loss
  • Problems with concentrating on what’s happening around you
  • Moving slower physically or making unintentional, purposeless movements that those around you can notice
  • Recurrent suicidal thoughts
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness


Sadness is something that you’ll be able to overcome when you’re given enough time to do so. This is because you can “cry out” your emotions, talk to your friends, or simply spend some time outdoors in nature. While you’re experiencing sadness in some part of your life, you can still find happiness in other parts of your life and by engaging yourself more in these happy things you can start to feel better.

However, if you’re suffering from depression you will need a combination of psychotherapy and medications to help you feel better. The most common medications used in treatment here are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Since they have some side affects you should have a serious discussion with your doctor before starting treatment. As far as therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the mainstay approach. This will take some time. Nevertheless, the combination of these treatments will surely benefit you if you’re suffering from depression.

When you need to seek professional help for your mental health, reach out to The TMS Advantage. They’ve helped many people deal with these feelings and they can help you too, but you must reach out to them to schedule an appointment.

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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