Depression vs Sadness Understanding the Difference

Depression vs Sadness Understanding the Difference

By Vanika

Depression vs Sadness Understanding the Difference

Sadness is a common emotion for us. We feel sad when we part ways with our friends, or when our favorite team loses the match, or when you don’t get to eat your favorite food item. Sadness is easily our natural reaction to events that did not turn out in the way we wanted them to and it’s a temporary feeling which fades away with time. You will be sad about your team losing the game but in some time you will get over it. Where as, depression can be long-term and have a severe impact on one’s mental health as well as physical well-being. And that is where depression differs from sadness.


How is Sadness different from Depression? 

The various symptoms of sadness and depression are perhaps what differentiates them from each other. Sadness is momentous. You will feel extremely bad about something but it is not persistent and won’t let you laugh and be comforted about it in some time. Sadness is one of the common feelings that we have from time to time like happiness, guilt, and embarrassment. But if the low mood stays consistent for more than two weeks, it can manifest itself as Depression.


Depression is persistent. It affects the person and different aspects of their lives deeply. The feeling of enjoyment, satisfaction, or happiness is hard to come by for someone battling with depression. It’s a mental disorder while sadness is simply an emotion. When sadness becomes persistent and stays for too long, it turns into depression. Some clinical symptoms of Depression can be


  • A constant low mood or sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of enthusiasm or interest in favorite activities
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Easily irritated 
  • Deep, unwarranted guilt
  • Low physical health
  • Constant thoughts about death and suicide 


It’s important to keep in mind that even within Depression, there are different forms. It can be mild, short-term, present itself in episodes, or be persistent for a long time. The severe form of Depression is known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). According to the DSM-5 used by  American Psychological Association to diagnose mental disorders, you must have at least five symptoms for a period longer than two weeks. The symptoms include-


  • Lack of interest in hobbies or activities 
  • Constant feelings of sadness or emptiness 
  • Feeling hopelessness and/or worthlessness 
  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia 
  • Change in diet and/or weight
  • Lack of energy for day-to-day activities 
  • Facing a hard time making decisions or concentrating 
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide 


When to seek help

Feeling sad or disappointed about something is part of our life’s ups and downs but if the sadness lingers for way too long than it should have, you might need some support. Depression is treatable. Don’t take your symptoms lightly. If you have been feeling low for way too long or your mood is affecting your life adversely, it might be time for you to seek out some support. Research says Depression can be treated much more easily if identified early. 

To know more about Loneliness and Physical Health read here

To know more about What Exactly is Grief? How Does One Overcome it? read here

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Tags: #depression #sadness #sad #happy #sadness #LongTermDepression #ShortTermDepression #MajorDepressiveDisorder #DSM-5 #LowPhysicalHealth #Emptiness #SelfHarmThoughts #suicidal #ClinicalDepression

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