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What is the difference between sadness and depression?

189 Answers
Last Updated: 05/11/2020 at 6:00pm
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 31st, 2015 11:15pm
Being sad has a specific cause that you can link it to, or to have an off day. Sadness makes room for happiness when it is time. Depression can come out of nowhere, or be caused by something. But it does not allow for much happiness.
January 1st, 2016 12:17am
Symptoms of depression typically last 2+ weeks, and can inhibit a person's ability to function normally. Depression can have many symptoms such as change in appetite and fatigue. Sadness can even be considered to be a symptom of depression.
January 1st, 2016 3:37am
If you're sad you will get better faster and your thoughts won't be too bad. If you have depression, you might get suicidal or self-harming thoughts and you're always down in the dumps.
January 2nd, 2016 5:09am
Sadness is just more of a "Oh no this happened today" short term disturbance that genreally has a cause and can either be solved or gotten over easily. Depression however is a much longer process and can have a number of causes or the may be no obvious causes at all. It tends to affect you on a much larger scale and drags you down as a person rather than just making you upset it often makes you learn to hate yourself or things about you as well as dwelling on a lot of situations.
January 2nd, 2016 10:46am
Sadness is the feeling you get when something goes south in your life. On the other hand, depression is feeling sad when everything goes well in your life.
January 2nd, 2016 1:30pm
Sadness usually has a reason or cause. It tends to fade away as we move forward in life. Depression lasts longer and feels much scarier. Te voice of reason tends to leave and things along with people cease to matter. Waking up everyday becomes a burden and the hardest is trying to explain something you don't understand yourself. Sadness tends to be easier to explain as it usually has a root cause.
January 2nd, 2016 2:52pm
Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes, when our emotional hurt fades, when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits. Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible. Depression colors all aspects of our lives, making everything less enjoyable, less interesting, less important, less lovable, and less worthwhile. Depression saps our energy, motivation, and ability to experience joy, pleasure, excitement, anticipation, satisfaction, connection, and meaning. All your thresholds tend to be lower. You’re more impatient, quicker to anger and get frustrated, quicker to break down, and it takes you longer to bounce back from everything.
January 3rd, 2016 5:21am
Sadness goes away within a reasonable amount of time, depression is sadness x 100 and constantly there
January 3rd, 2016 5:25am
I believe the difference between sadness and depression is ignorance. Sadness, in my opinion, is a somewhat temporary emotion. If a friend passes obviously I'm going to be sad. But, I understand this is a part of life. Eventually, I will move past this sadness. Depression, in my opinion, is a lack of understanding. You must understand why you feel the way you think you feel. Human minds are extraordinary. Our mind truly believes what we imagine. The level of positivity that can be achieved is awesome! You don't just wake up one day and suffer from depression. We believe what we continually tell ourselves.
January 3rd, 2016 1:40pm
In depression, you will feel tired a lot, you might have suicidal feelings and feel extremely lonely, you might cry a lot, too, this is how depression is, it happens with you everyday but sadness is not like depression, you just feel sad for a short period of time and it doesn't affect your daily life
January 3rd, 2016 2:14pm
Sadness lasts shorter than depression does. Depression feels as though it'll last forever but you know sadness will go away soon.
January 3rd, 2016 5:51pm
Sadness is for a particular occasion or thing or person. Depression is a serious sadness for a long term
January 3rd, 2016 7:51pm
depression is something which will not give a person reasons to be dull or quite or non blooming through out the day. one need to find excuses of not doing anything or even feel frustrated to get a cup of coffee all by yourself. sadness is you have a reason and a pretty good one where a person is showing their real emotions or feeling related to a situation or a person
January 3rd, 2016 8:18pm
Depression is a disorder where you feel like you can't push through anymore. You physically have no fight left in you and you don't have energy to get through the day. Depression is awful and I also know that from experience, sadness is just a feeling of temporary pain that can be healed easily
January 6th, 2016 10:30pm
I think they are both very similar, however sadness is just a temporay feeling and depression is something that tends to linger.
January 7th, 2016 8:26am
Sadness is temporary sorrow where as depression is more extreme sadness that last longer that can lead into hopelessness and despair.
January 7th, 2016 8:52am
In my honest opinion, the line separating between the two is thin, Sadness is one of the signs of depression, but it is a normal emotion like any other, such as happiness, anger, etc. It can be used to help with grief, and it is short lived and can pass in a given time. Depression on the other hand is a whole different story. There are many way to describe it, In the most simple way I can personally describe it, it is a mental illness that affects your ability to function, ranging from work, sleep, study, eat, etc. It can be something that can last for years, or a short span, give or take. That is the most objective explanation I can give.
January 8th, 2016 7:08am
Sadness, in my mind, is a state of being upset but being able to be helped by others. Where as depression is a state of sadness that makes you want to be alone and unhelped.
January 8th, 2016 11:08am
Sadness is when you still have faith on things, it takes a little time, and you are not ''shot down'' by your sadness. Depression is when you lose faith in yourself and in your life, it takes more time and you gets motionless by it. If you have depression, dont worry so munch, 7cups is here to help. You just need a candle to light your darkness, and that candle is also called ''Friend.'' =)
January 8th, 2016 10:24pm
Sadness keeps your feeling and makes you feel your mistakes while depression teach us to not give shit about this life
January 9th, 2016 6:42am
Answer: There's a difference between depression and sadness. Depression causes problems with regard to a person's functioning. And the symptoms of depression typically last at least two weeks or longer. Sadness is one the of the symptoms of depression, but with depression you have more than just sadness.
January 9th, 2016 4:24pm
Sadness is only a part of depression, which is a disease or disorder of the mind. Depression includes sadness, of course, but it also includes difficulty becoming excited about things, anxiety, over-feeling (extreme sadness/anxiousness in normal social situations), and just feeling nothing sometimes. It is normal for humans to experience spells of sadness and depression in their lifetimes. It becomes a problem when it does not pass or get better on it's own, and that is when psychological help is recommended. If a saddening event has happened recently, give yourself a bit more time to overcome it before you chalk it up to depression!
January 9th, 2016 10:27pm
Depression is an abnormal emotional feeling,but sadness is a normal emotion sadness can be caused by hurtful time you could be experiencing but depression is a mental illness and were sad about everything
January 10th, 2016 12:02am
The difference between sadness and depression is that depression is a reoccurring feeling of sadness.
January 10th, 2016 6:01am
sadness is an emotion you feel when something doesn't go your way like getting fired your dog dies all common things to be sad about. However depression is like a sadness that doesn't go away it is a dark cloud that never goes away things that should make you happy don't sometimes people suffering from depression find themselves crying on a daily basis for no reason.
January 10th, 2016 9:26pm
Depression and sadness are two different things. Many people struggle with depression think they are merely sad. and many people who are extremely sad are worried they might be depressed. Because depression is associated with its symptom of extreme sadness. Depression is a mental illness, depression is a serious condition that requires treatment. Sadness, on the other hand, is overreacting to a normative emotional state. Sadness is a normal human emotion that we've all experienced it and we all will do so, again. It is triggered by a hurtful or disappointing event, or situation. Depression is an abnormal emotional state, it is a mental illness. It affects our thinking, our emotions and our behaviors. giving myself as an instance, when I'm depressed, everything to me becomes sad. Everything is sad to me, I feel sad about everything. Depression is losing interest in the things you once found very enjoyable and lovable. Depression is the lack of motivation and energy. It is the lack of tasting joy, pleasure, happiness, and anticipation. You get angry very quickly, frustrated very quickly, lack of concentration. Quicker to break down, easily. That's what depression is, and that's what sadness is.
January 13th, 2016 3:45am
Sadness, much of the time, is a healthy reaction to certain events. It can be mild or overwhelming, but it is short lived. Sadness can grow into depression though - when that burning, sick feeling of sadness persists for so long, it's hard to imagine anything being good again. Your thought patterns change as well as your behavior, both of which further affect your mood. It is no longer a healthy response - it's developed into a medical illness: depression.
January 13th, 2016 4:15am
Sadness is when something bad happens and you get down and depression is more deep and contains more symptoms. Depressions usually lasts more than sadness and it's very noticeable.
January 14th, 2016 3:29am
Imagine happiness like a blown tire. This blown tire is sadness. Now imagine a rim without a tire. That's depression.
January 14th, 2016 1:09pm
Sadness is temporary. Depression is prolonged. While sadness deals more with feelings of the heart; depression has a lot to do with a wandering unstable mind. One can overcome sadness by listening to a good peace of music or watching a baby laugh. Whereas, depression needs time to settle. Time heals sadness; Depression can cause serious consequences if not encountered soon.