Identifying the fine line that differentiates depression and sadness

Identifying the fine line that differentiates depression and sadness

Affecting people of all age groups, gender and ethnicity, depression has emerged as one of the most prevalent mental health disorders ailing our society. The disorder is often confused with a feeling of sadness, hindering treatment. In fact, word “depression” is frequently used interchangeably to describe unhappiness or disappointment.

To define it medically, sadness is a natural feeling and sentiment that occurs when one is upset, disappointed, hurt, or dissatisfied. The emotion is temporary and fades away with time or when the situation is over. On the contrary, depression is a serious mental health condition that has the potential to degrade the quality of life by disrupting regular activities. Additionally, it can also trigger self-harming and suicidal thoughts and tendencies in the individual.

According to experts, the confusion between the two conditions primarily occurs due to the similarities in their symptoms. While sadness is defined by a low mood and disappointment, depression is characterized by symptoms of persistent sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, despair and isolation. However, a condition can be diagnosed as depression only if the symptoms exist for more than two weeks.

Sadness vs. depression

While sadness affects the mood and temperament of a person, depression extends to affect the body and the mind. As a result, a person who is sad can be upset, but a person suffering from depression can encounter troubles like alteration in body weight (gain or loss), fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Also, when afflicted with depression, an individual experiences frequent and random body aches and pain without any specific reason or illness.

Moreover, a feeling of sadness could set in due to some specific reason, such as a breakup, disappointment, failure, etc., while depression could occur for no specific reason. It could be triggered by any event, especially the negative ones, which have the tendency to cause deeper miseries that may last beyond normal boundaries. Also, sadness takes away the jot for a brief period. In case of depression, the condition worsens with time, which further causes loss of interest, energy and enthusiasm for even the likeable things and activities. As a result, people suffering from depression gradually disconnect from their surroundings and go into isolation and solitude.

Thirdly, sadness generally makes people think about the bad experiences they have had with others, while in depression, the individual tends to blame himself/herself for the condition and is unable to recognize self-worth. They are often lost about the purpose in life and fail to feel accomplished. As a result, they develop an affinity with death. Ending their life and experiencing self-punishing thoughts take precedence and it becomes difficult for them to alter the feeling of being unworthy and helpless.

Dealing with depression

Lack of awareness and education are the key factors adding to the confusion between sadness and depression. Also, the complex nature of depression can only be understood by people who have either suffered, or are suffering from the condition. Depression is debilitating in nature which makes medical intervention necessary.

Fortunately, depression can be treated with proper medication and therapies. However, undergoing a medical diagnosis is just the first step towards treatment. The clinical assessment, conducted by a licensed medical practitioner, will not only determine the condition accurately, but will also identify the type, severity and duration of the condition, helping to decide the most effective course of treatment.

Therefore, if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that may be similar to that of depression, seek help from Florida Depression Helpline to enquire about the depression treatment centers in Florida. A call at our 24/7 depression helpline number (866) 267-5177 or online chat can connect you to the best depression rehab you need.

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