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What Is The Difference Between Sadness And Depression

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Sadness Is Subjective Depression Is Diagnosed

What is the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?

It is up to you to say that you are sad. No one can deny that you are sad, it is something you experience subjectively and independently. Depression, on the other hand, has set criteria and requires an official diagnosis. After all, not only the time period is key to the diagnosis, also a specific combination of core and additional symptoms. Consequently, a depression test is necessary.

If you are still uncertain, keeping track of your emotions, cognition, and physical experiences can support the detection of depression. Moodpath regularly measures all depressive symptoms. The app, created to help you detect depressive symptoms and episodes, will ask you questions three times a day over the course of two weeks, giving you a sound doctors letter at the end of that period. This way youll be able to rule out any remaining doubts and gain a deeper understanding of what it is youre experiencing.

Treating Sadness Versus Treating Depression

Sadness can be overcome within time. You can express your emotions, cry it out, go out with friends, or spend time outdoors. Expressing sadness over the loss of a loved one may take some time, but you can still find happiness in other aspects of your life. Engage yourself more with these happy aspects.

Depression is best treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy. The most common medications used to treat depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . All medications, including SSRIs, come with side effects, and therefore it is essential to have a conversation with your healthcare professional before starting this treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the mainstay psychotherapy approach in treating depression. Treatment for depression does not happen overnight; this is a process and can take some time, and different treatment approaches. Depression is a prevalent mental illness, and many treatments benefit most individuals.

Depression Difference Between Sadness And Depression

Depression is an illness , a persistent ailment that is the result of distorted thoughts, that is, thoughts about events are not realistic. It can be triggered by various factors; from job loss to illness or near death. Depression is a prolonged sadness and is not a normal human emotion. It does not have a timeline, but must be controlled and managed with patience.

Depression occurs when a persons emotional filters are distorted in such a way that they do not allow the individual to see the facts in an objective way. Symptoms of depression include: lack of energy, loss of interest in normal activities, excess or lack of appetite, excess or lack of sleep, and loss of concentration. Ongoing stress could also trigger depression.

This disease can have serious consequences if it is not treated. Many people can be affected by their personal relationships, their job performance and could even go as far as suicide. Generally, a depressed person feels very lonely and distrustful.

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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

How Sadness And Depression Affect Creativity

Difference Between Depression and Clinical Depression ...

The effect of sadness and depression on creativity is an interesting onemostly because there is data that suggests moments of sadness, and even lasting depression, can actually benefit your creativity.

Research has shown that people who are experiencing sadness may be more attentive. This can make them better at handling demanding situations, recalling past events, and accurately discerning reality from rumor. They are also more detail-oriented, and, surprisingly, less likely to make arithmetic mistakes.   

In short, sadness might increase focus and diligencetwo important ingredients for successful creative work.

Its also argued that sadness and depression make you more aware of your emotions, which you can then use to your benefit as you create. After all, emotions fuel creativity.

That said, we cant discount the effect of positive thinking on creativity as well. Positivity can bring:

  • Insight and inspiration
  • Joy and purpose

All of these things are just as important to the creative process.

In short, feeling sad or depressed doesnt have to ruin or completely derail your creative efforts. However, learning to manage your negative feelings so that you also experience the positive ones is what is going to help you to be your most creative self. 

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Can You Still Enjoy Things You Like

Sadness: Being seriously bummed can be terrible, but even if you’re sad, you’re still able to enjoy things like pie, Gilmore Girls marathons or other stuff you loved in the period before your sadness hit. It may take a bit of persuasion, but you do get into it in the end.

Depression: One of the most important aspects of depression is the experience of anhedonia, or a lack of interest or enjoyment in things and activities you once got a lot of pleasure from. If you absolutely loved kickball/writing/graffitiing haunted buildings at night, and now you can’t seem to get through the fog of sadness to feel excited about them again , you’re probably experiencing depression.

Sadness Is An Integral Part Of Definitions And Classifications Of Depression

Sadness is considered to be one of the core symptoms of depression by most authors. Its clinical importance for the depressive syndrome has been attested to by various studies. Among the arguments for its clinical value is the fact that sadness is present in an increasing number of patients when depression grows in severity, as Beck described in a study in 486 subjects, ranging from nondeprcsscd controls to severely ill patients .

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When To Call Your Doctor

Know that you are not alone if you are experiencing some of the symptoms above.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of sadness or depression for longer than a few weeks, consider reaching out to your doctor to determine the cause and what you can do about it.

Sometimes feeling depression is not a result of mental illness. It could be a medical condition, like hypothyroidism, for example, that can be causing symptoms of depression.

Once your doctor rules out any potential medical causes, they will be able to provide other options for your depression or refer you to a psychiatrist or therapist who can help you.

Depression Discussion Guide

Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression

What is the difference between grief and depression?

Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss, disappointment, problems, or other difficult situations. Feeling sad from time to time is just another part of being human. In these cases, feelings of sadness go away quickly and you can go about your daily life.

Other ways to talk about sadness might be feeling low, feeling down, or feeling blue. A person may say they are feeling depressed, but if it goes away on its own and doesnt impact life in a big way, it probably isnt the illness of depression.

Where can I learn more?

About the author

The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit www.cmha.bc.ca.

Q&A is for readers who want to take charge of their well-being, support a friend or loved one, find good help, or just learn more about mental health and substance use. Here, the information and resource experts at HeretoHelp will answer the questions that were asked most often. We’ll offer tips and information, and we’ll connect you with help in BC, Canada. If you have a question youd like to ask, email us at , tweet , or log in to HeretoHelp and post a comment on this page.

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Sadness And Depression Share Some Traits But Are Not The Same Understanding The Difference Is Important Since Clinical Depression Requires Treatment

Article by:What’s the Difference?SymptomsTreatment Differences

Everyone has a bad day now and againa painful argument with a spouse, the loss of a beloved pet, getting passed over for a promotion, and other everyday disappointmentscan make us feel awful.  Sadness is a normal emotion that should fade away over time but when that melancholy isnt temporary, the danger of depression may be on the horizon.

 Sadness is a normal human emotion that everyone feels from time to time, says Johnny Williamson, MD, medical director at Timberline Knolls, a residential treatment facility in Lemont, Illinois. It is often associated with a difficult life event such as a loss of a loved one, a breakup or other hurtful event that results in an untoward outcome. When a person feels sad, sadness is often the dominant emotion. But there can be periods of levity and less severe mood. Sadness can also sometimes be relieved by venting, crying, exercising or other methods of releasing emotion.

Sadness varies in intensity and duration, according to Dr. Williamson, but a defining feature is that it is a temporary feeling. Eventually, it fades and ultimately resolves. If sadness continues to intensify, does not eventually fade or lasts for a prolonged period, you should seek support from a mental health professional because depression is a possibility, he adds. 

Differences Between Sadness And Depression

04 October, 2018

Talking about psychology has become popular recently, but the way we talk about psychology isnt always correct. We tend to talk about psychology while drawing inappropriate equivalences. One of the classic examples of this is our difficulty to establish the differences between sadness and depression. Therefore, using the word depression in popular language has led to confusion about the disease. In fact, its even led to some contempt.

Using the word depression instead of sadness or vice versa causes many problems. Some people have found it easier to just say that theyre depressed rather than sad. The first word sounds more technical or scientifically correct, whereas we tend to associate sadness with human frailty.

There are many differences between sadness and depression. The first and most important difference between them is that sadness is temporary. On the other hand, depression is a disease and it needs to be treated. For this reason, its important to know the differences between the two.

Your emotions shouldnt be paralyzing. They shouldnt defend themselves. They shouldnt prevent you from being everything you can be.

-Wayne W. Dyer-

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Creating A Safe Place To Face Personal Challenges

Treatment begins with building a safe, supportive environment. Trauma-informed therapy occurs within an empathetic, therapeutic relationship. Emotional safety is our primary resource, like a protective force field around everything we do. This provides a secure feeling that: I can tell my therapist what is on my mind, they are not going to judge me, dismiss me, be angry with me or shame me; they are going to walk alongside me.

How To Know If You Are Feeling Sad Or Depressed

Depression: What Is It and What Are My Treatment Options ...

Undoubtedly, there is some overlap between sadness and depression. Some people who are feeling sad say that they are feeling depressed, and people who are depressed might describe themselves as being sad all the time. You might mistake sadness for depression, or you might write off your depression as sadness. The problem is, not being able to distinguish between the two can have problematic consequences if it keeps you from getting the help you need.

The best way to determine if you are feeling sadness or depression is to talk to a professional. A mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, is best, but your general practitioner can help, too. Remember: the most important thing is to get the help you need. 

There are also online screenings you can take, such as those from Mental Health America and Depression.org.

Here is a quick-reference chart that goes over the typical differences between sadness and depression, to help you decide what youre feeling and how to get help.

Sadness
-Not always tied to a specific event or circumstance-Usually prohibits you from living life normally-Accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and irritability-A mental illness that requires treatment-Can lead to suicidal thoughts or tendencies

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Treating And Healing Sadness And Depression

Depression and sadness are both treatable with therapy.

When clients first seek help, my role as a therapist is to determine the nature of the difficulty and what kind of support is needed.

The first step is to explore safely and gradually where the need for healing is. With a trauma-informed approach, we remain mindful that larger issues may lie beneath the more visible symptoms. Often clients care most about immediate issues they cant get out of bed in the morning, they have no energy, or they just feel numb. Sometimes they can point to the source of their sadness; other times this takes more time and effort to uncover.

Sadness usually happens for a reason: Im sad we had to move, or Im sad because my friend died. Theres a defining moment for sadness.

Those struggling with depression may not know why they feel so low. They may even point out positive events such as a promotion at work, welcomed wedding plans, or a relationship with a safe, supportive partner. The debilitating symptoms are confusing: Everything in my life is basically good. Why am I sad? It may seem the symptoms do not make sense.

Depression Alters You Physically Emotionally And Behaviorally

  • Depressed mood most of the day for most days for at least 2 consecutive weeks
  • Diminished or complete loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Significant and unexpected weight loss or weight gain
  • Significant and unexpected changes to your sleep
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Difficulty paying attention, concentrating or remembering information
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself

When you experience depressive symptoms, your brains get rewired and more sensitive to negative emotions. This changes your perception of the world around you.  The good news is that depression is very responsive to treatment, and there are many treatments available like counseling, medication, hypnosis, and biofeedback to name a few.

Hopefully, you have a better sense of the difference between sadness and depression, and when/if its time for you or a loved one to get help.  Feel free to call us at or to schedule a free 20-minute Clarity Consult to learn more about how working with one of our therapists can help you improve your life.

Envision Wellness is a private practice that offers psychotherapy, psychological testing, and life coaching in Miami, FL.  Our team has a passion for helping others achieve happy, fulfilling, and change-making lives that make the world a better place.  Each therapist has their areas of expertise.  Not sure who youd like to work with?  to schedule a free 20-minute phone consult to help you decide.

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Being Sad For Too Long Is Not Sadness Anymore

Lets be real anything in excess is never a good thing. When you start isolating yourself, or to feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless in addition to sadness, those are signs that things taking a serious turn.  The longer you allow these feels to persist, the more established they get, making it difficult to figure out what brought them on in the first place. Timing varies by person, but generally, it may be time to get some professional help if youve been feeling sad most of the day for most days during a 2-week period or more.

Refocusing Attention To Empower Change

The Difference Between Sadness And Depression

We know from neurobiology that the brain has plasticity, which means it is open to change, even in adulthood. Therapy helps us empower ourselves to move from unhealthy to healthier ways of functioning, mentally and emotionally. One key to helping the mind make positive change is to focus attention on how we make sense of our experience. As author and neurobiologist Dan Siegel describes it:

When you learn to focus your attention on the nature of the mind itself, you actually can rewire important parts of the brain that help regulate how your entire nervous system functions so, for example, how your body regulates itself, how you balance your emotions and also how you engage in relationships with other people. It also changes the way you relate to someone very close to you, how you relate to yourself.

Name it to tame it is a phrase Daniel Siegel coined to promote wellbeing by calming emotions with awareness. When we name and tame the thoughts and feelings we are experiencing, we can begin to see their role in our behavior and relationships. If old reaction patterns have been calling the shots up to now, noticing and naming them allows us to recognize them and re-direct their energy, instead of being driven by them.

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How Do Grief And Sadness Differ From Depression

Although grief and depression may both involve intense sadness and lack of enjoyment in activities, they are different in important ways.

  • If you are feeling grief, you may experience painful feelings in waves, mixed in with good memories of the person you have lost. If you have a major depression, your mood and lack of enjoyment remain consistently low for two weeks or more.
  • While you are grieving, you tend to maintain your feelings of self-worth. With depression, you tend to have feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.
  • Sometimes, the grief brought on by the death of a loved one, loss of a job or traumatic event can lead to depression. Having the two together intensifies the grief and sadness and causes it to last longer.

Sadness Is An Emotional Reaction While Depression Is An Abnormal Mental State

Emotions are a normal part of our lives. We all experience happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment almost every day. Sadness is a natural and healthy emotional response to any unfavourable situation. We feel sad when we have a fight with a parent or a friend. We feel sad when things dont go the way we want. 

However, depression is a mental health condition that requires treatment and therapy. The major difference between sadness and depression is that depression occurs for no apparent reason. You tend to feel upset out of the blue and you cant quite understand why. They experience a lack of concentration and have negative thoughts about their future. They feel helpless and out of control of their emotions

Loss of a loved one may trigger depression as well. However, it is difficult to distinguish between grief and depression since symptoms such as lack of sleep or loss of appetite are a part of the grieving process. People who are grieving tend to accept the love and support from family or friends but people with depression tend to isolate themselves and refuse help. 

In addition to this, depressed individuals experience feelings of guilt or shame. But sad or grieving individuals may not experience the same.

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Sad Feelings Are Normal

It’s OK to feel sad sometimes. But it feels much better to be happy. So here are some things every kid should know:

  • You can cope with sad things that happen.
  • You can do things to ease a sad mood and feel happier. 
  • A positive attitude can help you through disappointments.
  • Learning how to deal with sad feelings can make a big difference in your life. 

Am I Depressed Depression Types And Symptoms

clinical depression vs normaldepression

Depression is a general term for a group of disorders that includes several forms. Some of these are :

  • Major depression  the form that people most often think of when symptoms are noticeable. During bouts of severe depression, people lose sleep or are sleeping more, miss school or work, appear unable to enjoy life, and even may be at a point of suicide.
  • Persistent depressive disorder  a low mood lasting more days than not for 2 years or more. Severe bouts may occur during the course of less severe symptoms.
  • Postpartum depression  includes debilitating symptoms that occur for about 10 to 15 percent of new mothers, up to 18 months to 2 years following childbirth. Symptoms can overwhelm the ability to care for a newborn or maintain self-care, and can raise risk of suicide or harm to the child.  Women who experience PPD and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders have a critically important need for understanding, support and treatment .
  • Seasonal affective disorder  includes debilitating symptoms that follow seasonal cycles, usually bringing out depression in the cold, gray winter months.

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What Recovery From Depression Looks Like

It may take great effort for people with depression to learn how to integrate new ways of seeing themselves and the world. Small steps are a good way to make changes that build on each other. Healing happens slowly, one change at a time. At first, suggestions may come from therapy. Later, you may find yourself ready to consider one improvement at a time, for example:

  • Could you do one social thing this week?
  • Could you reach out to one friend this week?
  • You once enjoyed hiking; could you go again?

You know you are seeing recovery begin when you look back on a week and realize you had coffee with a friend, or that you got more sleep three nights in a row, or that you did actually go for a walk. As you recover, you learn how to manage your symptoms so that they no longer feel overwhelming.

With recovery, a person with a depressive disorder will feel like they can see the light at the end of the tunnel that there is a glimmer of life again.

Healing from depression takes great strength and persistence. Reaching out for support is a sign not of weakness, but tremendous strength and courage. Facing depression and learning to manage and heal from debilitating symptoms is admirable and deserves our utmost respect.

Many of us face lifes challenges unaware of each others struggles. By understanding how to recognize the difference between sadness and depression, more of us can help and encourage each other to find the support they need.

More Resources

Do You Feel Depressed

Depression may be triggered by external circumstances or may be due to physiological pre-disposition.  The term depressed is often misused and self-reported as a feeling unto itself, as in, I feel depressed. Clinical depression, however, can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional that can assess symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment. 

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Take Care Of Yourself

If you have symptoms that are interfering with your ability to function in everyday life and that last longer than two to three weeks, seek professional help. If you dont know where to go, ask your primary care physician or research online. For grief counseling, you can also check with a local hospital, hospice service or church. For mental health counseling, your doctor or local hospital should be able to provide resources.

In addition to seeking professional assistance, you can help yourself by tending to your emotional, physical, mental and social needs. Try incorporating these practices into your daily life:

  • Be with other people and take part in fun activities. Open up and express your feelings with people you trust.
  • Dont make major life decisions, such as moving or changing jobs, while you are experiencing negative thoughts that may cloud your judgment.
  • Be patient with yourself as you work to recover, and dont expect to have the energy you normally do. Set small, realistic goals.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Practice meditation, tai chi or other relaxation methods.

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