We all have experienced sadness in our lives. Sadness is a normal human emotion that can be brought on by some type of challenging or difficult event such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, or troubles at home. Nobody is immune from being sad. That being said, the emotion of sadness is not the same as a depression. In fact, sadness is only one of many symptoms of depression. Depression is a diagnosable mental health issue that fully envelops a person’s entire being. This article will outline 5 differences between sadness and depression.


The 5 ways to know the difference


  1. Relief and recovery. When someone is sad, they typically bounce back after a fairly short period of time. Talking with a friend, having a good cry, or participating in some type of activity can usually offer some type of relief. Depression is different. There is no relief or end of the sadness in sight. In fact, activities that in the past were enjoyable, offer no happiness.
  2. Motivation. A person that is experiencing the emotion of sadness will still engage in their normal routine for the most part. They go to work or school, and engage with friends and family. Depression affects a person’s motivation. They don’t want to participate in anything that was part of their daily life. They experience a sense of despair that takes away any feelings of wanting to do anything.
  3. Physical issues. With sadness, there is really very little if any physical problems or changes. Somebody feels sad, and then eventually feel better. Depression brings with it several types of physical symptoms such as extreme fatigue, eating, and sleeping problems. In fact, the physical nature of depression is a huge indication that the diagnosis is real.
  4. Onset. As discussed above, sadness is a typical response to an outside event. In other words, somebody becomes sad because of something that affects them personally. That emotion can be directly linked to something. Depression can come out of nowhere. A person may become depressed for no reason that can be pinpointed. Friends and loved ones may not understand why somebody is depressed since there is nothing tangible to explain its onset. It’s very important to understand that like any other physical disease, depression can just appear.
  5. Genetic Predisposition. Every human can experience sadness, and there is no genetic link to it. However, a person is significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression if it has occurred in a family member. As sadness is not hereditary, depression or other mood disorders are definite risk factors.


When to get help


It is important to seek help for depression. Fortunately, there are treatment options that offer relief and hope for people experiencing the symptoms listed above.  Receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from an experienced therapist should be the first step. The team at Calming Waters Counseling Services has years of experience and full expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mood disorders. They use several different modalities to combat depression; cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and EMDR just to name a few. Getting the much needed help is a huge step in the path of recovery and starting to find that happiness again.