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What is the Difference between Sadness and Depression

Sadness vs. Depression: Are They Same?

There is a popular misconception among people about sadness and depression. They think that sadness and depression are the same. Most people believe they are only sad when they are actually suffering from depression. On the other hand, many overreact thinking their phase of sadness is probably depression. Sadness may be a part of depression but both are not same.

Sadness is a temporary feeling that everyone experiences. It can be triggered by a particular incident. Sometimes sadness can pop out of the blue. But depression is a mental disorder. Clinical depression is an even serious disorder of the mind. It requires medical treatment or therapy. There are a few important symptoms of depression. Without therapy depression can cause severe health problems.

What is the difference between Sadness and Depression

What is Sadness?

Sadness is a normal emotion that every human being experiences from time to time. Sadness can be triggered by any particular incidents. Events like death of a loved one, loss of a job or failing in exam can make a person sad. It is a temporary feeling.

When a person is sad he can usually find relief by venting out. Crying or talking about the issue can provide relief. Even doing something that the person enjoys can distract from the sadness. Even if the sadness is not related to any particular incident, it can fade with time. Mood swings can make a person sad for some time. But the feeling goes away normally after sometime.

What is Depression?

Depression is very different from sadness. Clinical depression is serious form of depression. This is essentially a mental disorder. It is becoming more and more common nowadays. Depression affects every aspect of a person’s feeling. It is not a temporary phase that fades with time. Depression can affect anyone at any time. It severely affects a person’s behavior and attitude.

Clinical depression also negatively impacts a person’s health. Normally in cases of clinical depression, a person is unable to function normally in daily life. His daily activities get affected. This is a very serious mental condition that required immediate medical attention.

What are the symptoms of depression?
  • When you continuously feel low for more than two weeks, it might be depression. Unlike normal sadness, depression lasts more than two weeks.
  • In clinical depression a person feels discouraged to do anything at all. Hopelessness overwhelms him all the time. He might feel undeserving.
  • A lack of interest in everything is noticeable in cases of clinical depression. Something that used to make a person happy will be unable to interest him anymore. This is an important symptom of clinical depression.
  • Daily activities get severely affected in clinical depression. Going to school, college or job becomes impossible for a person with depression. Spending time with family and friends is also avoided by the person suffering from depression.
  • There is a continuous feeling of guilt in people with clinical depression. This guilt is not usually triggered by any particular incident. It makes the person lack confidence and motivation.
  • A significant loss in weight is a major symptom of clinical depression. Even sudden weight gain can be a sign of depression. Clinical depression affects the health in this way.
  • Lack of appetite is another sign. Unlike sadness, clinical depression affects feeding habits.
  • Normal sleeping routine gets affected during clinical depression. Sleeping time may decrease abnormally. Even insomnia is a symptom. Lack of sleep severely impacts the health.
  • Feeling constantly tired is one more symptom of depression.
  • A dangerous symptom of clinical depression is feeling suicidal. Thoughts of suicide are definitely triggered by major depression.
Experiencing even 5 of the above mentioned symptoms for a considerable time period makes you eligible to be considered to be a patient of major depressive disorder (clinical depression).

  Read moreDepression: What It Is, Causes, Signs, Relief and Self Help, Treatment

Who are likely to be at risk?

Depression may affect anyone across gender, age and race. But there are some risk factors that might increase the chances. These factors are:
  • Any person with a childhood trauma can be affected by clinical depression later. It is a likelihood that should not be ignored.
  • A person with low self-esteem can suffer from depression. These people are more likely to be affected.
  • People with a family history of mental disorder are more likely to be affected sooner or later.
  • Substance abuse can make a person develop clinical depression. It just a possibility.
  • Anyone suffering from terminal illness can be affected by clinical depression. Inability to cope with the situation can make a person severely depressed.
  • Anyone with a history of other mental disorders can also develop clinical depression.
  • Isolation from family and society is a risk factor. Lack of support and love from others can cause depression.
  • Depression can sometimes occur as side effects of certain medicines. Check with your doctor if you experience constant depression after starting some medications.


Depression requires medical treatment and therapy. Sometimes doing a few simple things can also offer some relief.
  • Sometimes doctors and therapist suggest antidepressants. However these medications may make the situation worse at times. Immediately notify your doctor if you understand your condition is worsening.
  • Reaching out to loved ones to talk about your feelings can provide huge relief. Depression increases if one does not share his feelings.


Feeling sad or depressed is very different from depression. They are not the same. Sadness is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. It is a temporary phase that fades away after some time. Often people misunderstand depression with sadness. This is why most of the cases of clinical depression remain undiagnosed. Clinical depression is a serious mental illness. It requires professional medical attention. A person suffering from clinical depression can even become suicidal if situation worsens. If you experience symptoms of depression, immediately consult a doctor.


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