Differences between depression and sadness

Many people can confuse depression with sadness, perhaps because we are not very formal with our everyday use of words. Therefore, it is essential to break with the wrong use of the terms, so that we can distinguish between the two.

Know the differences between depression and sadness it is very important for people to know very well where to place the dividing line. We will anticipate that, practically, one thing has nothing to do with the other.

And to establish the differences, we will start by saying that sadness is one of the many symptoms of depression. In fact, one of the criteria for diagnose depression is to be immersed in a state of deep sadness and dejection.

You also have to know that sadness is a state of mind and that depression is a psychiatric illness.

In Spain, depression affects between 4 and 5% of the population, with a double risk of suffering an episode among women, due to social and hormonal factors.

What is sadness?

Sadness is an emotion that we experience in negative situations, which makes it a natural psychological reaction. Sadness is cataloged within the basic emotions that the human being experiences, in the face of the vicissitudes of life, such as fear, anger, disgust or joy.

It is the emotion of grief, loss and damage, which we experience when a loved one dies, personal expectations are not met, etc. Sadness is a circumstantial state, a transitory state and it should not worry us excessively, because it indicates any mental disorder. Rather, it indicates that something we care about has gone or changed, such as when a relationship breaks down or when we must leave our home.

What is really significant is that sadness, over time, goes away and is undoubtedly one of the main differences between depression and sadness.

When people are sad, they feel less motivated to do activities. For this reason, they may reduce their social life, or dedicate less time to work or other activities that they usually did, but are still active.

It is important to allow yourself to be sad to overcome a loss, however, we must put effort and fill ourselves with positive thoughts so that we do not fall into depression. Sadness can be a inspiring emotion, generating a state in which people are more creative, whether writing, composing, painting a picture or doing any other activity.

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What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness or disorder result of the interaction of several factors: genetic, neurobiological and environmental changes.

It is characterized by great sadness, mental decline, low self-esteem, loss of interest in everything and a decrease in psychic functions. Depression can be triggered by tragic events like those that cause sadness, but also, without an apparent external cause.

Not having a cause to be depressed is one of the differences between depression and sadness, since the latter is an emotion produced by a lived situation.

Depression is a disorder that when it manifests itself with intensity, it affects the functionality of the person who suffers it, in all aspects of their life. So the individual does not function properly, neither personally, nor in the family, nor in the social, not even in the workplace.

According to American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association or APA) there are signs that can help identify depression, such as loss of identity or low self-esteem. Psychology experts say that for a person to be diagnosed with depression they must have had symptoms for at least 6 months.

Depression is a disease, in the psychiatric sense, in which there is a pathological sadness, which is intense and long-lasting, and which is associated with other symptoms. It is important to note that a depressed mood with loss of interest and exhaustion lasts at least two weeks, although it usually lasts longer.

Symptoms of depression

Depression is made up of a series of behaviors that stop the sufferer, causing a number of symptoms that are listed below:

1- Anhedonia

Anhedonia is the inability to feel or experience pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable. And it translates into loss of interest or satisfaction in almost all the activities that the person regularly performs.

Anhedonia is considered a lack of reaction to usually pleasant stimuli and is one of the clearest symptoms or indicators of depression. It is also present in other disorders, such as in some cases of dementia (Alzheimer’s) and schizoid personality disorder.

2- Abulia

Apathy is a notable lack of energy and will to do something we have to do. Apathy affects people with depression, so they feel unable, on a daily basis, to carry out their work because they experience great discouragement.

For example, a person with depression may miss work because they are basically unable to get out of bed in the morning. A depressed person neglects his obligations and is not able to reach the reinforcers offered by the medium due to a total lack of will. The depressed person talks about his tiredness or fatigue and reduces his activities to a minimum for a relatively long time.

3- Insulation

Another of the differences between depression and sadness is reflected in the degree of isolation that is in each of these states.

Usually a sad person he seeks out people close to him to talk about what he feels, he seeks comfort in others, even though he maintains a certain degree of Social isolation. In this sense, it will depend on the personality and the coping strategies used by the person in situations that cause sadness.

In contrast, in depression there is a constant rejection of contact with others, whether they are close people or not. The depressed person keeps his feelings to himself and even though he does not feel well alone, he prefers it to having to share with others. So he progressively isolates himself, even from the closest people, whether they are friends or family.

Other symptoms

There are physical and obvious ones such as loss of appetite and weight, sleep disorders, fatigue and difficulties concentrating.

There are behaviors such as the succession of repeated ideas of guilt, excessive concern for health and even suicidal fantasies.

Biological factors

The most common biological factors in depression are:

  • Pathological sadness
  • Loss of interest
  • Decreased vitality
  • Exaggerated tiredness

In conclusion

In short, it is necessary to take into account the differences between depression and sadness for:

  • Identify the causes that lead to depression and be able to treat it, with professional help.
  • Recognize sadness, to find strategies such as calling a friend to talk about what ails us.

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