Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

What separates depression from sadness and stress?

27 Answers
Last Updated: 03/31/2020 at 12:12am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Luz Cotto-Charneski, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

As your therapist I will help guide and support your unique process of self-discovery. I will witness you reclaim your voice and find a life of fulfillment, purpose, and ease.

Top Rated Answers
wonderfulSunshine20
November 3rd, 2015 10:16pm
Depression is the integrated form of sadness and stress . Depression is a long term process of continuously being sad and stressed..and has its roots in repetitive thoughts of miseries an being sad nd stressed
dovahkiin
December 7th, 2015 9:08pm
I'd say the durability of these feelings. When they're more constant, that would be depression. I get sad and stressed sometimes but I'm able to shake that off doing things that make me feel good, but when I was depressed these negative feelings would go on for weeks, months.
Shikamaru42
December 22nd, 2015 2:48am
Sadness is a temporary shift in mood, depression is a mental illness. Stress can be a cause for both.
radiatelove4
May 22nd, 2017 5:45am
Sadness may be coped with by spending some time with friends, or watching a funny movie. Stress may be eased by relaxing at the spa or reading a good book. With sadness and stress, you may feel down and out of place for a bit until you find something that lifts you up again. Depression, on the other hand, is not that simple. When you're sad, you usually know what can make you happier, whether it be listening to your favorite song or taking a trip to the beach. You know you're depressed when the things that used to make you happy, don't anymore. It's suddenly not as simple as being with the people you love and having a good time. Suddenly, you feel alone even in a room full of people. All the kind words and advice still leaves you feeling empty at the end of the day. Depression isn't just as easily coped with by going on the vacation of your dreams or spending time with the love of your life. It's feeling like no matter what you do, nothing works anymore. You could have it all, and still feel alone.
LittleMissListen
February 1st, 2015 6:37am
Sadness and stress are emotions we experience in response to situations. They are healthy, normal reactions to our environment, and these feelings often abate when the situation has passed. Stress can even be good for you in smaller doses, like when it motivates you to meet that deadline, or to react in a dangerous situation. Depression, on the other hand, is a condition that affects one's quality of life, causes personal distress, and interferes with daily functioning. While depressive episodes can be triggered by our environment, the symptoms tend to persevere long after the trigger is gone. There are different kinds of depression, but generally it is characterized by fatigue, loss of motivation, excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness, thoughts of death and/or suicide, a loss of interest in activities you enjoy, and changes in appetite and/or sleep. For more information, you can visit http://depressionhurts.ca/en/default.aspx
OakShield15215
February 17th, 2015 1:34pm
An emptiness. For me personally sadness is where I have a clear reason for being upset, when depression is where I have many reasons, or no reasons. I may just sit there and start crying at the smallest thing because I ma so frustrated with myself. Its the need to sleep because you do not want to face the emptiness of the day.
Anonymous
April 12th, 2015 6:04pm
Depression is a longer term issue. With sadness and stress you can still think logically and make changes to help yourself. Depression distorts your thoughts and sometimes makes you not want to help yourself because you feel you are not worth it. Things that would normally not make sense (e.g. suicide, you're worthless so much so that you feel guilty for breathing in air that should be for others, you are a burden on others that you would be doing them a huge favor if you killed yourself, etc.) start making a lot of sense.
cordial2394
April 25th, 2015 5:08am
From what I remember from the Self-Help module, a lot of what the professionals look at is duration. Also, although depression may have a trigger or coincide with several bad habits/happenings in the environment, depression is not typically environmentally dependent or based mostly on the stimuli at hand. I only have my own experience to go on, but when all the bad stuff got taken out of my life and I was put on antidepressants I improved. When I tried to "be normal" and quit taking the anti-depressants again, I quickly dropped back into being unstable and very close to suicidal. (note: it is preferrable to find and treat depression before it becomes that bad.. one can be very depressed and have it affect your life negatively in big ways _before_ one becomes suicidal) While things looked based on circumstances, and circumstances can influence a person in one direction or another a little.. in my case my sadness was a permanent chemical imbalance that needed medication to address. There are several different reasons why people might experience sadness and stress over a longer period of time. The self-study module, http://www.7cups.com/depression-help-online/ , explains how there are more than one type of depression. We active listeners are here for you and are happy to talk with you if you are depressed or sad or stressed. If you are really confused where the lines are between sadness and stress and depression, I encourage you to watch the self-study guide. http://www.7cups.com/depression-help-online/ and to follow up with a licensed therapist or physician. There is more than one type of depression and each one differs. Likewise there are several schools of therapy and many options today for treatment, so your prognosis if you don't stop trying to find things that work for you and your case. Good luck!
shoulderforu
May 17th, 2015 5:15pm
sadness and stress is for a reason...depression is that emptiness....u dont know wat to do ... u r just down for no reason....
Anonymous
June 5th, 2015 5:32pm
This is a very good question- And I wonder the same for myself- I think sadness and stress is on the more milder side of things, and depression is on the more severe side of things- I think, good question. Might be a good idea to speak to friends, family. Maybe your local GP or doctor
KindlyBunny
June 23rd, 2015 10:28pm
Sadness is often something that is only temporary and caused by one problem. Depression is an emotion often stretched out over long periods of time. It'd usually duller than sadness, but it still hurts, just in a different way. Depression also doesn't have to have a reason, it can simply be from a chemical imbalance. Stress is more fiery than depression, and is often very attached to specific causes.
Anonymous
June 30th, 2015 9:58pm
While sadness is an emotion and stress is a mental state, depression is a disease of the mind-- just as serious as any other disease. And, like any disease, you need a doctor to diagnose you with depression, whereas sadness/stress are readily identifiable as a layperson.
theezx
July 14th, 2015 1:19pm
Depression is a continues feeling of sadness, lack of motivation and a negative outlook on life. Sadness and stress donĀ“t last months and will likely pass.
Anonymous
August 11th, 2015 3:05pm
Depression can be cause by many things including sadness and stress. The only way to separate it is to remove anything that makes you sad or stress. Try doing things you love too keep your mind focused on something else other than the feelings.
Anonymous
August 18th, 2015 2:59am
Sadness and stress aren't bad things when they're logical. But when sadness or stress start to come for no reason, or feel disproportionate to the situation, it's likely that you're experiencing depression.
Anonymous
August 25th, 2015 12:32am
Depression is condition that is not temporary, a depressed person feels sad all the time and has a pessimistic way of thinking That is different from sadness related to an specific situation.
bountifulWillow67
October 26th, 2015 2:17am
Sadness and stress are from particular events. Or perhaps a lot happening or just an off day. Depression goes a lot deeper and can go on for a lot longer with a lot of other symptoms
caitlin29
October 30th, 2015 10:07pm
Depression is long term.
Greatlistener87
November 16th, 2015 6:20am
Being Sad/Stressed is when you have the feeling for a short period of time and then you move on, it does not cling on you like a virus and bring you or your health down. That is exactly what depression does to you. It brings you to a state that you don't let go and you can't move on with life.
Anonymous
December 1st, 2015 3:31pm
You feel hopeless when you are depressed, you lose your interest in carrying on life. People are usually still hopeful when they are sad, and stress might motivate you to find solution to what caused it. People who are depressed might feel like what there is no point to feel hopeful or finding solution
freshLove97
June 13th, 2016 1:50pm
Depression is an illness. One of it's symptoms might be sadness, but it's much more complex. Sadness and stress however, are feelings, they eventually pass.
Anonymous
June 13th, 2016 10:54pm
I think when you have depression, it takes the energy out of you. Sadness and stress can be very similar. But with sadness, you can get very emotional and want to feel loved.
Melody293
August 1st, 2016 1:31pm
Depression is usually characterized as a feeling that goes on for an extended period of time. However, sadness and stress are both factors that can lead to or trigger depression. If you think you have depression, I urge you to go see a professional who can correctly diagnose you. And if you ever need someone to talk to about how your feeling, feel welcome to come to 7 cups :)
MissLisa
January 3rd, 2017 4:03pm
Everyone gets sad and stressed from time to time however whenever that sadness does not go away and that stress overtakes and your daily life begins to be a struggle then you need to begin to get help and consider the possibility of depression.
Anonymous
July 18th, 2017 3:01pm
Depression has many more components than simply sadness and the feeling of stress. It can include things like feeling worthless, hopeless, and give people the want to die, while simultaneously doing things like taking away pleasure from activities you once liked, and changing sleeping and eating patterns. So, in general, depression is much more complicated than sadness and stress.
JadeSem
September 24th, 2019 5:32pm
Depression is like a parasite, it won't leave you that easily; it'll put miles between your inner Self and your grasp on reality. And even in those rare stances when you think you might need to do something to get out of it, it'll always make you feel like it's already too late. It's a constant state; it's feeling numb and feeling pain at the same time. Sadness and stress, on the other hand, might be more temporary; sometimes, it may also be easier to pinpoint the cause of sadness and/or stress, as compared to depression. It's harder to accept empathy as a helping hand if you're depressed; it's harder to see a way out.
PNWhelpershark
March 31st, 2020 12:12am
For me personally, I would say depression might color many/most aspects of my life and be a condition that lasts longer and comes and goes. Sadness and stress are more short term, though they also may come and go, and can be related a little more directly to specific situations/events. Depression can fit into those categories as well, but doesn't always show itself just through sadness and stress. Sadness and stress feel like more temporary states of mind (again, that may come and go throughout one's life) and may more often have a concrete trigger attached to them, whereas depression is more pervasive and can effect more areas of someone's life for a longer period of time.