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How do I know if I'm sad or depressed?

339 Answers
Last Updated: 11/19/2020 at 9:56pm
How do I know if I'm sad or depressed?
★ This question about Depression was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Shawn Wilson, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide supportive counseling and psychotherapy. I utilize cognitive-behavioral and solution focused strategies to address client concerns. Personal coaching is available.

Top Rated Answers
July 25th, 2015 8:09pm
Sadness will most likely go away with time. The likelihood of depression doing the same is slim. Sadness only lasts awhile and will go away, but depression will lurk in the shadows until it can strike.
July 26th, 2015 1:14pm
Depression generally covers a longer amount of time, for example, if you feel sad on a consistent basis with no motive to actually upset you, you may be suffering depression. It's always best to consult a professional such as a doctor for 100% accurate diagnosis of this issue.
July 29th, 2015 1:52am
The difference between depression and just generally feeling sad is, depression affects you in a long-term, negative way. Feeling sad doesn't last long, and can be processed emotionally, learned from, and forgotten about eventually. It is temporary. Depression can last for awhile.
July 29th, 2015 4:48pm
I would say that you can normally tell the difference when it starts to take over your day to day life and becomes a big problem. Also, when you feel sad for no reason on a regular basis that could too be an indicator.
July 29th, 2015 8:14pm
If you been feeling down for more than two weeks it's a sign. Everything feels dark, and nothing is funny.
July 30th, 2015 1:36pm
If the feelings of sadness last longer than two weeks and are accompanied by: appetite changes, loss of/too much sleep, loss of interest in commonly pleasurable activities, change in sex drive, and withdrawal from friends and family. If these symptoms persist longer than two weeks, please reach out to a professional psychologist or psychiatrist for treatment.
July 30th, 2015 8:07pm
When you're depressed, the feeling doesn't go away. If you feel like you don't want to live anymore, or feel like you have nothing to live for, you're probably depressed. If you've felt sad for a long period of time without anything drastic happening to you, you could very well possibly be depressed. While it might be easy for some to self diagnoise the best solution is to go to a doctor.
July 31st, 2015 12:36am
Sadness is a normal emotion felt by most people at a certain point in their lives. It typically doesn't last for more than an average of a few days, up to a week at most. Depression is a type of extreme sadness that follows you 24/7, for weeks, months, and even years at a time. It usually leaves you feeling more helpless and lonely than sadness does. Depression also has more effects on your daily life and overall attitude. It can lead to serious things like suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
July 31st, 2015 4:47pm
Depression has been something I've dealt with for the majority of my life. I realized that my sadness had become something more when I was constantly feeling down for no particular reason, and that those feelings were preventing me from being myself or from performing my normal day-to-day activities.
July 31st, 2015 7:42pm
Depression usually lasts while sadness changes. If your feelings of being blue last more than 2 weeks and there seems to be little hope of things changing it could time to reach out for more help.
August 1st, 2015 10:13am
If you are constantly sad and unhappy in life, it can the first sign of depression. Being just sad doesn't last a couple weeks, it's depression.
August 1st, 2015 6:40pm
i try to tell myself positive things like i am brave and can bear it also write down my feelings somtimes
August 1st, 2015 7:07pm
If you have half or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, or if any symptoms are impairing your ability to function, then you may have a clinical depression: 1. Persistently sad, anxious or empty mood. 2. Sleeping too little (awakening in the early morning and unable to go back to sleep) or sleeping too much. 3. Lost appetite or increased appetite. 4. Not able to enjoy any activities, lack of interest in doing anything. 5. Feeling restless or irritable. 6. Difficulty concentrating or being decisive. 7. Feeling exhausted 8. Feeling hopeless, helpless and worthless. 9. Physical problems that have no medical cause like headaches or stomach aches. 10. Thoughts of death or suicide. Depression may look different in different people. One may be slow, exhausted, feel numb and utterly hopeless while another may appear anxious and irritable. These are both signs of depression but different kinds and a professional will need to determine which it is in order to recommend the proper treatment.
August 2nd, 2015 6:07am
If you're sad very frequently and often times for no reason whatsoever, to me that sounds like a clear symptom of something more than just sadness. Also, you might find your eating & habits changing, along with your opinion on socializing with others.
August 2nd, 2015 3:55pm
There are quite a few simptons with depression. A change in appetite (either more or less than usual) a change in sleep pattern ( more or less) a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy. Not being able to concentrate. Worrys going around and around in your head. Sadness you can just brush off where as depression isn't so easy
August 5th, 2015 12:24am
There's a difference between being sad and being depressed. sadness is short term and usually something that passes, but depression is more than just being sad and can be long term. signs that a person may be suffering from depression is sadness that lasts more than 2 weeks, feeling low, low motivation, low energy, lack of appetite, social isolation, withdrawal from usual activities, lack of sleep or too much sleep etc. if you feel that you are experiencing signs of depression it is best to seek help from a mental health professional as soon as you can. things like counselling and maybe medication may be needed to help normalise a person from the constant feeling. it can also be hereditary or situational. consult a gp about it and seek out a referral to access a support system to help you overcome depression. it is not uncommon for young people (age 12-14) to experience signs of depression and can also be related to anxiety. things like feeling the pressures at school, bullying, family conflict etc. things that can help you feel better could be things like normal eating, having a good sleep routine, a good support system, spending time with friends and family, seeking professional help etc.
August 5th, 2015 4:57am
Depression isn't only just feeling sad. When your depressed you have a lot of self destructive thoughts and you don't feel motivated to do a lot. When your sad you'll normally get over it pretty quickly but with depression it can take a lot of time and will power before you can fully recover from it.
August 5th, 2015 12:08pm
Depression is chronic and more long term while sadness is one of the many feelings we all go through everyday
August 5th, 2015 6:01pm
Depression, I have found, has more proponents to it than just feeling sad. I realized I was depressed when I literally went down a bunch of internet checklists and realized that not only did I suffer from every last one of the symptoms but that they were interfering with my life. Only then did I really admit to myself that I had depression. Depression is more than sadness. I realized that I felt really more empty than sad, and I felt hopeless. My sleep schedule was completely out of sorts and I wasn't hungry anymore. Depression works in a way that it effects you not only mentally but physically as well.
August 6th, 2015 2:55am
Depression and sadness can be easily spotted out. Sadness is when you watch a TV show, and your favorite character dies, or when you read a book and your favorite couple had just broken up. That sadness lasts, but it goes away and vanishes. Depression is like dragging you down to the ground, and you cant move. Depression makes you feel like you don't want to do anything, and that everything you thought was important before, is no longer a priority at all. This "sadness" doesn't go away, and it's like a dark cloud following you everywhere you go.
August 6th, 2015 8:54am
Depression is the longer version of sadness. if you are just sad, that time will pass soon. when you are depressed that time doesn't pass.
August 6th, 2015 8:41pm
What depression is not is grief. Feeling very upset and in mourning after a loss is completely appropriate and even important in processing the loss. Feeling sadness after divorce, losing someone close to you, losing a job or having to move is very normal and does not require treatment. It is wise to talk to others and find support systems so that the sadness does not evolve into depression. However, if those feelings seem to happen a lot, and sadness or fear take over, they can impair your ability to function and to enjoy your life. This is what a true depression can do. If you are motivated to understand why and how to manage them better, then I highly recommend psychotherapy where you will learn the tools to better cope with the day-to-day struggles of life.
August 7th, 2015 5:32am
If you feel down a lot. Sad and useless. If u r getting more or less hours of sleep. If u r eating more or less amount of food then usaral
August 7th, 2015 4:18pm
Well, being sad will just stay for awhile. Well for depression, it stays for a little longer and it prevents you from doing things. If you want to know more, check out our guidelines :)
August 8th, 2015 4:27pm
It really depends on how long it's been going on. If it's only been a day or two, it may just be sadness. If it's been going on for quite some time, it may be time to seek out professional help.
August 8th, 2015 6:51pm
Depression is the state of being sad constantly for a period of more than 2 weeks. The sadness is very hard to get rid of and often can have no real cause or reason, or be triggered by certain events rather than sadness which comes and goes, or simply goes.
August 8th, 2015 9:02pm
Depression is heavier than sadness. Sadness is something that goes away more easily and doesn't affect your day-to-day life. Depression is not being able to get out of bed, whereas sadness is being able to get out of bed and make yourself feel better.
August 8th, 2015 9:25pm
Sadness is temporary. It feels like you will be sad for a long time, but it doesn't last as long as depression. Depression is more severe and it can have long term effects on you instead.
August 9th, 2015 3:51am
It's pretty hard to tell at times, but sadness comes and goes and depression is usually constant. The best way to tell is to keep track of your emotions
August 12th, 2015 2:14am
Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loneliness. You won't feel like doing anything and might have the intentions to hurt yourself.