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What is the difference between sadness and depression?

188 Answers
Last Updated: 05/20/2019 at 9:07pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2005 with a diverse group of clients, all ages, races, and socioeconomic classes.

Top Rated Answers
December 13th, 2015 11:33am
Sadness can be cured by happiness. Depression feels like a constant emptyness inside. Like life doesn't have a purpose. Depression mocks happiness because it doesn't know how to feel happy.
December 13th, 2015 7:42pm
When you are sad, it means you are being upset for a couple of days and youre sadness isnt too strong. When you are depressed it means that you are being really upset for months or years and you're feelings are really strong, you get suicidal thoughts, dont see the point in life or just simply feel like youre lost and everything is black and white for you.
December 16th, 2015 6:04am
Sadness is kind of like how you feel when you've just found out that you can't attend the concert you've been hoping for for months on end. You know that it's not the end of the world and that there will be much to come after it. Depression is nothing like sadness. When you're depressed you don't feel like theres something to come after. It feels like you're emotions are a hole and you won't soon, if ever, be able to crawl out.
December 16th, 2015 10:46am
Sadness is a normal human emotion. Depression is and abnormal emotional state which affects our thinking, emotions etc
December 16th, 2015 1:21pm
I think sadness is based on the situations and experiences we go through in our daily lives which will be for short period of time but depression is based on sudden changes which our mind and heart is not prepared to handle yet. If we dont take care of this depression it will cause many problems within ourselves.
December 16th, 2015 3:40pm
Sadness is a one off feeling, depression is a constant fluctuation of the mixes of sadness and other emotions such as confusion and anger etc..
December 16th, 2015 6:22pm
Sadness has a reason, it's clear and you can readily identify it. Depression lasts longer. It may have you feeling sad, or you could feel empty, hopeless, or unable to get motivated for long periods of time. Depression doesn't go away once the trigger is gone, it takes more work to get out of the slump.
December 16th, 2015 8:41pm
Sadness is definitely a part of depression, however, depression is considered sadness, a lack of motivation, lack of pleasure in things that were once enjoyed, and an overall negative and ongoing state if depression that lasts for weeks or months. Depression can manifest in physical symptoms and would impact everyday life.
December 17th, 2015 12:25am
The difference is sadness is occasional. it doesn't happen all the time and you can still get things done through out your day and it doesn't stop you from living your life. Depression on the other hand affects you and everyone around you. You isolate yourself ad you being to feel hopeless like you wont get better. You find it hard to get through the days and doing normal activites that you were able to do before. You go through phases of sadness, anger, fake happiness ect.
December 17th, 2015 7:57am
Sadness is a typical emotional response to something that is upsetting, depression is a longer term, more crippling condition.
December 17th, 2015 2:55pm
Sadness still helps you pursue your wants, depression doesnt let you. It's like the difference between concern and anxiety.
December 17th, 2015 10:42pm
Sadness is a fleeting feeling that everyone that encompasses the earth feels at one stage or another, generally every day. Depression is essentially this feeling but a lot more concentrated and generalized A sad person may grieve for the loss of their relative but a depressed person usually finds reasons to be sad in everything and anything (Not that its in any way their fault). They may become down about something as simple as not having their favorite food in the cupboard to things people say passingly. So essentially depression is a lot more serious, effects a smaller percentage of the population and is a lot more generalized, irrational and 'uncalled for' in the eye of the general public.
December 18th, 2015 1:10am
There is small differences between sadness and depression. For example, depression sometimes has feelings of guilt, whereas sadness is sometimes just feeling sad all the time. We are here to help if you are in need.
December 18th, 2015 7:47am
sadness is something that hits hard and fades.....Depression is an illness that hits hard and sticks.
December 18th, 2015 9:03am
Difficult to quantify in 100 character but the main difference would be that sadness is temporary, depression can be a constant.
December 18th, 2015 10:07pm
There is no difference, and the comparison is mute. Both can be temporary or permanent, and both can ruin a perfectly good lifer. If you focus on figuring out the difference, you are dealing with enough problems where happiness will become unattainable.
December 19th, 2015 12:29am
Depression has many symtomps like eating dissorder and sleeping alot or not sleeping at all , careless about being neat or not , self harming , and many other , while sadness is only being upset and frustrated from a specific situation and it doesn't last long like depression
December 19th, 2015 6:49pm
Depression is a mental illness. Depression lasts for a longer time than sadness. If you are depressed, that means you are sad. But if you are sad that does not necessarily mean you are depressed.
December 20th, 2015 12:14am
Sadness is a temporary condition, usually with an explainable reason. Depression is a type of chemical imbalance, and can be brought on for many reasons, some of which there is not explaination for. Most depression is triggered by something depending on the person.
December 20th, 2015 2:47am
Sadness is something we all experience; it’s a normal, human emotion. We experience it when we experience something unpleasant in life.sadness is not constant. Sadness is not an every-moment-of-every-day thing.Depression is when a normal, human emotion gets out of control to the point where it is no longer normal.
December 20th, 2015 4:03am
I think sadness is a feeling you experience when something bad happens. It's a normal human emotion. Depression is more of a mental illness where a person can experience extended periods of sadness along with other emotions.
December 20th, 2015 12:48pm
Sadness is something that would go away with time and depression is something that grows with time.
December 20th, 2015 1:15pm
Hurting is a common emotion. While feeling sadness or mental awareness can be coping with the truth.
December 20th, 2015 3:53pm
Depression is a feeling of emptiness, that everything is wrong and there's no hope for it getting better. Sadness is a part of everyday life. It's a temporary feeling of negative uncomfortable emotions. To feel sad sometimes is okay. Talking to someone can help you get through those tough times. Depression is a more serious illness that can be life threatening and really impact a persons everyday life
December 20th, 2015 10:07pm
Sadness is wanting to cry and is fixed with support, while depression is feeling empty or hopeless. When you are depressed, it feels as if you are drowning, but everyone else can breath.
December 21st, 2015 12:58am
Sadness is when you are feeling blue. Let's say about a basketball game you could not attend or sad because a friend could not make it to a party or has not said hello in a few day and etc.. The feeling of sadness usually is not very long lasting as compared to depression. Depression is quite serious and can last any where from weeks, to months, to even years. For example, i have had it for quite some years now. According to some quick search we have about 48 thoughts per minute which can total to 50,000 to 70.000 thoughts a day. So for a depressed person that means having about 50,000 to 70,000 that go along the lines of " i am worthless, i am useless, i cannot do anything right, no one needs me, i am a failure" (including suicidal thoughts which is why depression can be dangerous and detrimental (self harm & lack of self care& love which can lead to hygiene issues & others etc) for the person suffering with depression). And other negative thinking that can affect almost anything in that person's life from eating to relationships. Unlike sadness depression usually requires treatment and intervention. As depression can get worse without it and can be life threatening. Depression can result from many things such as bullying , traumatic life experiences grief, illness just to name a few. ( Depression can also happen along with other conditions or disorders such as bipolar and depression can sometimes be genetic and run in families ) Depression can be cured or alleviated. If you want to learn more there is a self help guide titled depression where you can visit by going to the my path tab and clicking Self Help Guides. There you can also view the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) self guide on some exercises that help explain why thoughts are thoughts and why they are not us. Which can help for sadness and be life changing for people with depression. Thank you for your question. :-) Take care
December 23rd, 2015 2:55pm
The key difference between sadness and depression is that sadness has an end point. Or at least you know that it will get better at some point. You don't feel that with depression.
December 23rd, 2015 4:48pm
Sadness is temporary, depression is something that is often long-term and can be extremely harmful. It is difficult to overcome depression, but once it occurs, you will find your true self and that alone will help you to be happy.
December 23rd, 2015 6:33pm
Depression is when you feel sad for long periods of time. Depression is also different from regular sadness (or situational sadness) in the sense that it causes various other mental, emotional, and physical conditions to arise within a person. Depression causes a person to lose interest in the things they enjoy, it can cause physical symptoms like extreme fatigue, muscle pain, and more, and it can cause mental symptoms, like memory loss, trouble focusing, and more.
December 23rd, 2015 7:56pm
Sadness is temporary, everybody experiences it once in a while. Depression is more severe or more persistent or both. Sadness is thus viewed as an emotion, whereas depression is classified as an illness.