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Am I sad or depressed? What is the difference between sadness and depression?

It can be challenging to decide whether we are experiencing sadness, the human emotion, or depression, which is a medical condition. We all go through the usual ups and downs in our moods. Many people use the word “depression” to describe these feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Sadness is a normal reaction to the struggles and setbacks in life. Depression is different from normal sadness because it interferes with your ability to sleep, work, study and have fun. The intense feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are unrelenting, with little relief. Some people describe their depression as “living in a black hole” or feeling impending doom. Some depressed people don’t feel sad at all – instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

“Depression is being colourblind and constantly told how colourful the world is.” – Atticus

The Symptoms of Depression

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), periods of sadness should not be considered a major depressive episode unless specific criteria are met. The duration and severity of the symptoms are also considered in the diagnostic process. The nine potential symptoms of depression are:

  1. feeling depressed throughout most or all days 
  2. lacking interest and enjoyment in activities you used to find pleasurable
  3. trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  4. difficulty eating or overeating, together with weight loss or weight gain
  5. restlessness, agitation, or irritability
  6. excessive fatigue
  7. unreasonable or extreme feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  8. inability to make decisions or concentrate 
  9. suicidal thoughts or actions, or thinking a lot about death and dying

When To Get Help For Depression

While sadness eventually passes, depression sticks around, influencing every aspect of your day and making it difficult to continue with life as you know it.

It is easier to chat to friends and family about sadness because most people can relate. Depression is more complicated, and some people might struggle to understand what you are going through.

If you have been living with the symptoms of depression for two or more weeks, please speak to your doctor or  Mental Health Professional. It is better to get a second opinion earlier rather than later. 

There are many effective treatments for depression, which may include medication, therapy and alternative remedies. Finding out more about your options will help you decide what will most likely work best for your particular situation and needs.

For assistance with your mental health, Whatsapp or call Life Path Health’s 24/7-Helpline on 072-7900-506.


Read More:

The Lies Your Depression Tells You 

The Differences Between Depression And Mental Burnout

What Is Depression?

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