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Depressed or Sad? 9 Crucial Differences Between Sadness & Depression

Have you been experiencing extreme instances of sadness?

If you've been feeling down, it's important to note that you're not alone. In fact, nearly 300 million adults worldwide suffer from depression. 

When you're feeling down, it can be challenging to navigate the differences between mere sadness and depression. In these instances, it's only natural to worry that your feelings of sadness may actually be depression. 

For those suffering, understanding the difference between feeling depressed or sad is crucial to your own well-being. To help minimize the confusion, we're outlining nine crucial differences between sadness and depression.

In becoming aware of these significant differences, you'll be better equipped to understand what's going on in your head. 

In failing to understand depression, the disease is often neglected and left untreated. Without treating the issue, it's likely that your depression will persist and possibly even worsen with time. 

1. Severity

One of the most significant differences between sadness and depression has to do with the severity. 

For example, while sadness may overtake one's mental state, the individual typically understands that this sadness is temporary. With depression, the symptoms of sadness are so intense that it's difficult for the individual to see past their depression. 

This depression can influence every aspect of that individual's daily life. With sadness, the pain is often limited to the source of the issue. 

Depression is a serious condition. Unlike mere sadness, depression often requires some form of treatment or medication. 

2. Duration 

With mere sadness, the symptoms of feeling down or anxious often come and go. These are not typically continuous feelings that last for longer than a few days or a week. This is because sadness is a normal human emotion that is natural to experience from time to time. 

When an individual suffers from depression, the severe symptoms of sadness persist for a longer duration. This means that the feelings are not up and down, but rather continuous. 

Some studies report that in order for sadness to be classified as depression, the sadness has to persist for longer than two weeks

3. Physicality 

When an individual is suffering from sadness, they are usually still capable of maintaining themselves physically. That being said, their usual routine and cleanliness are not typically affected. 

With depression, however, it's common for one's physical appearance and sanitation to change. Some may experience changes in weight, cleanliness and a nonchalant attitude toward their physical health. 

4. Triggers 

It's important to note that sadness often has a determined trigger.

For example, an individual may experience sadness after the death of a loved one or after losing a job. When experiencing this sadness, the feelings are often centered upon this trigger. 

On the other hand, depression is often missing a specific trigger. Instead, the individual suffering from depression may have a hard time determining what exactly is contributing to their sadness. This means that everything in their life may seemingly be afloat, however, the sadness persists despite this. 

5. Transitions 

When someone is suffering from depression, it's difficult for that individual to transition to an elevated state of being. 

On the other hand, those experiencing sadness are more easily able to transition to a happier state. With the presence of others or by doing something that brings that individual joy, they are usually capable of making themselves feel better. 

With depression, even moments that once sparked joy are incapable of transitioning to a better mental state. 

6. Interest and Motivation  

Depression is a condition that has the ability to impact every aspect of one's life.

As a result, it can be incredibly challenging for that individual to feel a sense of interest or motivation. This is because depression can be extremely draining and consume that individual's energy. 

This is as opposed to sadness where the individual is not likely to experience a serious lack of motivation. That individual likely still has a typical level of energy and interest in their life. 

7. Sleeping Patterns 

With instances of sadness, one's sleep pattern is not significantly affected. Although the individual is experiencing feelings of sadness, the individual is mostly capable of typical sleeping patterns. 

On the other hand, individual suffering from depression can experience insomnia as well as elongated sleeping patterns. For example, that individual may choose to sleep throughout the day and have difficulty sleeping at night. 

8. Alienation 

In experiencing sadness, many will still choose to surround themselves with people. Because sadness is typically a temporary state, the presence of others can help to elevate one's mood. 

With depression, it's more common for the individual suffering to remove themselves from social situations. This may come in the form of alienating themselves with friends and family and opting for alone time. 

In many cases, this is simply because that individual is lacking the energy or motivation to be around other people. It may also be the result of wanting to avoid discussing their mental state and emotions. 

9. Suicidal Thoughts 

In severe cases, those suffering from depression may experience suicidal thoughts.

Remember, depression is considered to be an abnormal emotional state. It's a mental illness that affects our state of mind and can result in extreme contemplations. 

Suicidal thoughts are not typically associated with instances of mere sadness. 

Feeling Depressed or Sad?

Have you been experiencing continual bouts of sadness? 

One of the most common mistakes in those suffering from depression is to mistake it for mere sadness. When this happens, the depression is left untreated, and that individual continues to suffer without the necessary treatment. 

The truth is, it's not always easy to determine what it means when you are feeling depressed or sad. If you've been experiencing instances of sadness or depression, use this guide to help you understand more about what's happening. 

With a firm understanding of depression versus sadness comes a better solution for correcting the issue. 

Remember, depression affects people from all walks of life and backgrounds. If you've been suffering from depression, be sure to view my services page and see how I can help. 

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