Sadness or Depression: What’s the Difference?

Often, people who are experiencing feelings of sadness say they are depressed, but depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is very different from sadness.

According to WHO (The World Health Organization), clinical depression is a serious mental health condition that affects at least 350 million people, or about three percent of the world’s population.

Although depression tends to affect women more than men, it doesn’t discriminate, and can affect people of any gender or age.

The Difference: Why it Matters

It may seem that the difference doesn’t really matter, but it’s important to know the difference between depression and sadness; otherwise, depression goes undiagnosed and people may not receive treatment that can help them feel better.

Sadness is a normal emotion that most people experience from time to time. Sad feelings are often triggered by a specific event such as death of a loved one, breakup of a relationship, chronic illness, loss of a cherished pet, a career change, move to a new city, or even a sad book or movie.

Sadness is a deep emotion which helps us think about life, feel into ourselves and often helps us mature, become a more conscious and compassionate human being. Feelings of sadness are difficult, but they diminish as time passes. Sadness, when overcome, often leaves us with a renewed sense of aliveness and energy, a more positive outlook on life and an increased sense of gratitude for the preciousness of life.

Depression, on the other hand, lingers, often for weeks or months. Depression may be present even when people are perfectly satisfied with the way life is going and feel they “should” be happy.

Depressive disorder impacts our lives more significantly than normal sadness. It affects the ways we think, act and feel, and the way we view ourselves and others.

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

If you’re depressed, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability and/or anger
  • Loss of interest in activities previously found enjoyable
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Difficulty falling asleep, inability to stay asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling sluggish and low-energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, regret and guilt
  • Difficulty with concentration, focus and decision-making
  • Changes in personal hygiene or grooming
  • Easily agitated or tearful
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Less desire for sex
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is Treatable: Rehab for Depression

If you feel sad and the feelings aren’t letting up, don’t hesitate to seek treatment for depression. There are many effective treatment options available, including counseling and antidepressant medications. If you feel suicidal or you think your life isn’t worth living, call emergency services right away.

Addiction Treatment or Rehab for Co-Occurring Disorders

You may need substance addiction treatment or rehab if you use drugs or alcohol to medicate your sad feelings. A good addiction treatment center can treat addiction and depression at the same time. This is a common problem known as co-occurring disorders.

At Paracelsus, this is what we do, get down to the root-cause of the depression, diagnose-co-occurring disorders and treat them in an integrated way. We have been successfully helping clients of all ages and their families for many years now.

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