As human beings, we all have sad moments. Things do not always work out the way we plan and people can disappoint us. Sometimes the sun is up, while other times it rains down hard on us. However, there is a difference between feeling a sadness that will go away or depression where that sadness stays with us.

Depression can be a pervasive mental disorder that can make you lose sleep, motivation, and keep you in a low mood for a long time, if left untreated. The difference between sadness and depression are described below.

Sadness vs. Depression

Sadness is an emotion that happens when something bad or disappointing happens to us. You may have been rejected by someone you really liked, did not get the job you wanted, or found out that a close friend is moving far away. Sadness is usually short-lived and situation based. It normally comes to you because of a specific reason. Something bad may have happened to you to bring out these negative emotions. But once something else happens that cheers you up, or a few days pass, that sadness usually goes away. Normally with time, that type of sadness will go away.

Depression, on the other hand, is more pervasive - it is an overall general state you may find yourself in for no known cause. There does not have to be a specific reason that you feel the way you do. It may even be the result of genetics –something you were born with - a chemical imbalance in the brain that might be related to serotonin. Even if your life seems fine, your depressive symptoms may permeate everything you do. It is not typically the result of some triggering, difficult or even tragic life event.

Depression is a mental disorder that should not be ignored.

Symptoms of depression include:

- Persistent sadness
- Fatigue
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Different sleeping or eating patterns
- Feeling worthless
- Headaches or other body aches
- Suicidal thoughts or actions

These are not symptoms that are described as your everyday sadness. As stated above, ordinary sadness is usually fleeting. You can feel sad about something that happened, but it usually goes away after a short amount of time and you are able to get on with your life. With depression, however, your thoughts and behaviors might be colored with more of a pessimistic outlook on everything you do. It’s like you are seeing the world through a negatively tainted lens. These symptoms usually require attention.

While certain states like grieving can cause a persistent sadness, it is still different from depression. Grief and sadness can come in waves where you have bad days and then other days where the pain lessens. With depression, the pain tends to stay the same.

Different Types of Depression

There are also different kinds of depression. Two of them are described below:

Chronic depression (also called “persistent depressive disorder”) is a milder but longer lasting type of depression. Someone suffering from chronic depression can be said be feeling a bit blue most of the time for a period of two years or more. They may sometimes feel worse than others, but the depression isn’t as serious as someone suffering from major depression and it is seen as more of a low-grade type of depression.

Major depression is not always triggered by an external event and can be so severe that it completely interferes with your ability to function. This type of depression is often characterized by a sense of hopelessness and despair. This is serious and can be characterized by some of the following symptoms:

Feeling depressed each day or most days
Lack of interest in activities you used to like
Lack of sleep or sleeping too much
Trouble eating or eating too much
Irritability, restless, agitation
Extreme fatigue
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Inability to concentrate or make decisions
Suicidal thoughts or actions


If you are experiencing any of the above criteria, it is important to speak to a mental health professional. Major depression is a serious, yet treatable disorder. A trained professional, can help you figure out what is wrong and recommend a personalized treatment plan to help you get your life back on track. Remember this: Just by the act of seeking out help, you are taking action which means you are beginning to take control of your life by breaking the viscous cycle of depression. Taking action with depression therapy counteracts depression by creating a feeling of empowerment.

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