Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

what causes depression, and how is it different than normal sadness?

26 Answers
Last Updated: 10/14/2019 at 9:24pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
February 19th, 2015 4:19pm
Depression can be caused from biological of psychological factors. Unlike sadness which will usually pass in a few days the most, depression lasts for a few months and sometimes more even to years. Depression is some sort of stronger sadness. There are many problems which can occur while in it and unlike sadness, it effects your life a lot. It can change relationships, change the view on life and cause even to be suicide and many other bad things. Depression is an excessive version of sadness which lasts much, much more time.
January 24th, 2015 1:23pm
I think the thought that everything is getting worse and never will be okay again causes depression.Sadness is okay.It is needed to understand.But depression destroy the person.Kills her inside.And if it is not over soon it can take someones life.
January 27th, 2015 8:21pm
Depression is kind of like sadness, but it's more debilitating. It sticks with you like a big thick black blanket all wrapped arround you that makes it hard to move and breathe
April 3rd, 2015 1:20pm
There are many causes. It is sometimes caused by environmental factors for example being bullied, and it is sometimes caused by biological factors and a part of your genetics
August 17th, 2015 5:42am
Depression may be caused due to many factors..Chemical imbalances, smoking, hypothyroidism, your sleep habits, Social networking sites, abusive family, bullying, lack of love or touch in your life, being in a setting your uncomfortable with, not getting the right amount of nutrients from your food intake, even watching a sad movie can make us depressed. Depression is different from sadness in that sadness is just a painful emotion whereas depression is a real illness
August 31st, 2015 12:59am
Depression is like an anchor, dragging you under the water and drowning you. Depression is feeling sad, broken, and lifeless but not knowing why. It is different from normal sadness because it takes you over. There is no escape from depression. Depression is over a long period of time where as sadness if just temporary.
November 22nd, 2015 10:55pm
Depression can be cause from a traumatic event, rejection, moving to a new place and other reasons. I t is different from normal sadness because sadness only last for a short time and goes away and depression last for a long time and don't leave until treated. Causing someone to feel sad, gloomy, crying etc.
July 18th, 2016 6:52pm
depression breaks into pieces you :( sometimes without any reason you can break up but mostly there is a big problem in your life which upsets you.
May 8th, 2015 3:11pm
It could be an emotional trauma, or chemical balance. It's different because depression lasts longer than the emotion sadness would. Sadness doesn't last longer than a fe hours. Depression can last up to weeks, months, even years.
May 21st, 2015 2:07pm
Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But when feelings of intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- last for many days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression -- a treatable medical condition.
July 14th, 2015 5:10am
There is no single cause of depression. You can develop it for different reasons and it has many different triggers. For some, an upsetting or stressful life event – such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries – can be the cause. Often, different causes combine to trigger depression. For example, you may feel low after an illness and then experience a traumatic event, such as bereavement, which brings on depression. Sadness is something we all experience; it’s a normal, human emotion. We experience it when we experience something unpleasant in life—a loss, a disappointment, and so on. Sadness is what happens when you get a divorce. Sadness is what happens when you’re stood up for a date. Sadness is what happens when normal events occur in ways that are hurtful. Sadness can occur at very regular intervals in our everyday lives. However, sadness is not constant. Sadness is not an every-moment-of-every-day thing like depression is. Sadness relents, depression doesn’t. Sadness is interrupted by periods of laughter; depression often can’t be budged by even the most talented comedian
August 4th, 2015 6:16pm
I would describe "normal" sadness as the ability to be knocked down, but you're right back up again after a short while. Depression, on the other hand, is like being knocked down and staying down. You're on the floor and you see all these things you liked to do before, but none of these things that made you happy are worth getting up for. And then you feel tired all the time because you're there, on that floor, and why get up when you can just sleep?
August 18th, 2015 2:15pm
Many things can cause depression and it is not always noticed straight away. Some people forget that depression can affect anybody, even those people who seem to always be happy! Depression is not a sign of weakness or anything like that, it means life is too overwhelming and you may need a little support to help get you back on track again. Never be ashamed or worried to speak out!
August 18th, 2015 4:13pm
Depression is caused by event, in the past of present. Depression is also caused by sstress and addictions. Depression is a combination of feelings like pain, anger, sadness, and hurt. Sadness is just sadness.
November 10th, 2015 2:40am
Depression is caused by a multitude of different things. It can be brought about by a traumatizing event, or it can be caused by seemingly nothing at all. Sadness is a natural part of life, depression is not. Depression infiltrates every aspect of a person's life, and to someone suffering from depression, there is no end to this permanent state of numbness.
February 2nd, 2016 10:31am
Depression isn't sadness. you can be perfectly happy and normal in front of others who will never be able tell. You get into a state of mind where inside you aren't happy. When you laugh, its as if you aren't laughing inside. Something is there which is pulling you down. Even normal things you would do, just seem mediocre to you. You can have constant negative thoughts or actually just not want to do anything or interact with anyone.
April 11th, 2016 11:41am
My own depression was undoubtedly hormonal, and I developed postnatal (postpartum) depression after the birth of my daughter. Normal sadness is a natural reaction to something - disappointment, loss, etc. It heals naturally from a sort of profound numbness to acceptance, an accepted, researched and recognised process. Depression is different in that it is persistent and can often just happen for no apparent reason (such as a specific or series of events). Depression is an illness, sadness is an emotion.
April 24th, 2017 5:31am
Everyone gets sad sometimes, but what makes depression different is that is long periods of sadness, 2 weeks of complete sadness and depressed mood. It hinders your daily life that it can get to the point that getting out of bed is a chore. Depression is a disease and should not be taken lightly, as these feelings are real and can be inhibiting.
April 25th, 2017 3:24am
The simplest way to put it is that it's caused by a persistent chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression can be situational and caused by direct triggers, or it can be persistent. If it's persistent, it may not be "caused" by anything you can identify. It's different from normal sadness because depression is not just "being sad". When you're depressed, you often have difficulty feeling any emotions at all when you're not actively feeling negative ones. Sadness is a direct result of an emotional stimuli that is upsetting, and it passes. Depression recurs, and it often isn't what the person experiencing it would consider an appropriate emotional response to the situation they're in.
November 27th, 2017 6:25pm
Depression can be caused by the imbalance of hormones in your body. It’s not something you can just cheer up from, sometimes people just need help from tablets to balance out hormones.
December 25th, 2017 12:49am
Depression can be caused by many things, loss of a loved one, stressful life events, medication side effects, and even come out of nowhere. Everyone has been sad before, everyone gets the occasional blues, but depression is different. Very, very different. Depression is an extended period of time where you feel sad, bleak, dull, and maybe even guilty. The world seems black and white, you've lost interest in your usual hobbies, you're easily irritable, and other symptoms like these are what differ depression from sadness. Depression is ongoing, sadness is momentary. Depression is a serious mental illness, but it's treatable with therapy and even medications. Hope this helped answer your question.
January 16th, 2018 7:02am
sadness is a normal human emotion which we can always overcome and will always return to, it doesn't trigger anything, any actions or the well being of the person to a severe state, whereas in depression your actions and thoughts are due to your state, it triggers someone and changes people's perceptions, behavior and feelings, you feel less, you don't feel as enthusiastic about others.
March 5th, 2018 11:10am
There can be a lot of reasons for depression.Like for example any traumatic life events,family history of depression,some serious medical illness,drug and/or alcohol use,personality(the people who have low self-esteem,who are very sensitive to criticism,who are perfectionists and have a negative pattern of thinking are prone to have depression) and chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression is way more intense than sadness.Depression is a long-term thing and it is a disorder whereas sadness is just a feeling and doesn't cause any severe harm.I you wish to know the exact and precise difference between the two,you can talk to a psychologist.If in case you want to find out if you have depression or not,you need to get a proper diagnosis done(through a psychiatrist).
July 23rd, 2018 1:26pm
Depression can be caused by even simple things and it is next level sadness where you don't even know why you are sad about.You wont be able to control your emotions.
April 29th, 2019 11:10pm
Sadness is a feeling and a normal reaction to a stressor or situation. Depression is prolonged sadness with loss of pleasure and interest in previously enjoyed activities accompanied by changes in sleep, energy, appetite, weight, concentration, thinking, thoughts of death or suicide, and feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt that lasts for days, weeks or months. Depression is not only distressing but also socially, occupationally or academically impairing. Clinical depression often necessitates professional intervention, i.e. psychotherapy and/or psychiatric medication. Depression can occur in a single episode or can be recurrent over the lifespan. Depression can be unipolar or bipolar (I.e. alternating between hypomanic or manic episodes).
October 14th, 2019 9:24pm
Hi. In my opinion a lot of factors can cause depression not just one thing, for example: abuse, bullying,self hatred,loss, mental /physical health problems, financial problems, family stress, stress in general and much much more. Depression can also be a gene thing where you can inherit low serotonin levels (happiness hormone) which can cause depression. Depression is different from feeling sad because sadness only lasts for a while and then you begin to feel better whereas depression is like this never ending spiral of darkness and you are forever falling with nothing you hold onto or catch you and it gets to the point where there's no light and no turning back. Depression is just the feeling of numb any wanting to give up yet wanting to live, its wanting to be alone yet surrounded by people.Depression is in my opinion one of the worst things anyone can go through. I'm sorry for the long reply but I hoped it helped you