How to Know the Difference Between Sadness and Depression

difference between sadness and depression

Though society has made some wonderful strides toward removing the stigma associated with depression, most people are still woefully unaware of the difference between a major depressive disorder and sadness.

After all, how can you know if you’re one of the 40 million adults living with depression? Couldn’t it just be sadness?

If you’re struggling, this article is for you.

Read on to learn the difference between sadness and depression.

Sadness vs. Depression: An Overview

It’s easy to conflate sadness and depression, but the fact is, they’re quite different.

Sadness is often caused by a temporary situation or set of circumstances in one’s life. These can be natural, like the loss of a loved one or losing a job, or more confusing, like feeling sad for no reason.

But as strange as it may sound, psychologists agree that it’s normal to feel down and depressed from time to time. In fact, some doctors argue that sadness presents its own set of benefits.

Depression, on the other hand, is a much more complicated matter. Like sadness, its cause can be situational. However, brain chemistry also plays a part here.

What’s more, it’s often not caused by one sole factor. Instead, depression may be caused by both situational and chemical elements, as well as hereditary factors.

Symptoms of Depression

In truth, everyone’s depression and sadness are different. What one person experiences may vary greatly from what their neighbor experiences.

Still, certain symptoms can give you a better idea of which you’re dealing with.

Depression, as mentioned before, tends to last a great deal longer than sadness.

Longstanding depression, also known as major depressive disorder, also lasts longer than sadness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, if pervasive feelings of sadness or emptiness last for two weeks or longer, you’re likely experiencing a depressive episode and not a period of sadness.

Even how depression feels is different.

Though it may sound strange, those experiencing depression may not even feel sad. They may not feel much of anything at all, in fact. Feelings of numbness or emptiness are often reported. You may feel like you’re in a rut that you’ll never get out of.

Coping with Feeling down And Depressed

The good news is that you’re not stuck living a life of sadness, even if you experience depression.

Though clinical depression isn’t “curable” in a traditional sense, taking proactive measures and finding healthy coping mechanisms can make life easier.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional. A Nassau county psychologist, for example, can help you find a course of treatment that’s going to work for your unique depression.

Spending time with your friends or pets is also a great way to keep depression at bay.

There are countless options to help you manage your depression, so don’t feel confined to a life of emptiness.

Final Thoughts on The Difference Between Sadness and Depression

Though this article aims to note the difference between sadness and depression, it’s important to understand that only a medical professional can diagnose you.

If you’re having a hard time, contact your local physician and watch out for bad habits.

Check out our guide of the seven worst habits that can destroy your faith in yourself to learn more.