Sadness is Not Depression: Don’t Confuse the Two

Sadness is a natural part of life. There are always going to be high points that make you feel glad to be alive, but there are also likely to be low points that are hard to get past. This is the rollercoaster of emotions that defines what it is to be human.

Sadness is Not Depression: Don’t Confuse the Two

There is also depression, which can feel like sadness sometimes. However, the two are not quite the same. You may need to check into a mental health treatment facility if you’re grappling with depression, but sadness is not generally thought of as a reason to seek this sort of professional help.

How can an individual tell the difference between sadness and depression, though? We will talk about that in the following article.

What is the Definition of Depression?

Depression is the shorthand version of what some doctors refer to as major depressive disorder. If you’re experiencing it, that means you feel down, usually for an extended period of time.

When you’re depressed, you may feel that life is not worth living. You may not be able to take joy in things that would typically cheer you up.

What About Sadness?

As for sadness, any living human can give you a definition. Feeling sad is the opposite of feeling happy. When you’re happy, you feel elated. When you’re sad, it’s usually a response to something like grief, disappointment, or loss. Are They the Same?
If you feel sad, that can feel somewhat like being depressed. If you’re depressed, it’s common to feel sad. However, that does not mean the two are the same.

The way you can differentiate sadness from depression is by asking yourself why you feel the way you do. If you feel sad, you should be able to answer the question readily enough. If you are a child, and your parents forget your birthday, you will likely feel sad. If you get passed over for a promotion at work that you really wanted, that should make you feel sad as well.

If you’re experiencing depression, though, it is likely you won’t know why you feel down. You might have a general sense of malaise, but you can’t point to a particular reason why you feel the way you do.

What Other Ways Are They Different?

The duration during which you feel sad will also usually indicate whether what you’re experiencing is actually depression. If you feel sad, you can typically tie it into some particular event, and you will probably not feel that way forever. If you’re depressed, you might not be able to articulate why you feel that way, and it can last for days, weeks, or months.

If you go see a doctor and describe what’s happening, they will ask you some more questions. If you feel bad for a few days because your cat died, though, that’s more than likely going to fall into the category of sadness rather than depression. Remember that depression is a clinically diagnosable condition, while sorrow is not.

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