Difference between Depression and Sadness

Key Difference: Depression is a condition of feeling hopeless, downhearted, in low spirits, etc. On the other hand, sadness is a seasonal emotional disorder expressing unhappiness.

There is always confusion between the two emotions: Depression and Sadness. It is very important to know whether the person is sad or depressed. Sadness is not constant, whereas depression is so far beyond sadness.

Depression is an illness, a persistent medical condition that is a result of distorted thinking, i.e. not realistic thinking about certain events, like job loss, sickness or death. It is very important to know that depression transpires due to sadness. It is also important to know that depression is not a normal human emotion. It is a point where it is no longer usual. Depression doesn’t have a time line – it is a constant condition that needs to be handled patiently.

Depression basically occurs when a person's emotional filters are somewhat distorted and he doesn’t distinguish the events objectively. Once this happens the brutal cycle starts. Symptoms of depression include low energy, a loss of interest in normal activities, change in appetite, weight gain or weight loss, excessive sleep or insomnia, and the loss of ability to concentrate. Continued stress can also bring on depression. Depression can have some severe consequences, such as an impact on personal relationships, job performance, and can cause physical deterioration through lack of care. A person with depression will usually feels extremely lonely and distrustful.

Sadness is a term which is used to define a sad emotion. Sadness is something that a mentally healthy person should feel. For example, when parents are fighting, exam results are bad, money is tight, relationship break up, and so on. Sadness is short term. It is recovered in short period of time just by talking to a person, diverting the mind somewhere else, listening to favorite songs, etc. Sadness may reduce everyone’s ability to enjoy, but it doesn’t destroy it all together.

Sadness is a feeling that everyone experiences. It is known as a normal human emotion. The emotional symptoms of sadness include anxiety, anger, irritability, worthlessness, hopelessness, etc., whereas, the physical symptoms of sadness include overeating, changes in appetite, disturbance in sleep, not feeling hungry at all, etc. There are so many symptoms of sadness because every person reacts differently to feelings of sadness.

Comparison between Depression and Sadness:






  • To be sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject; dispirit.
  • To be lower in force, vigor, activity, etc.; weaken; make dull.
  • To feel lower in amount or value.
  • Affected by unhappiness or grief; sorrowful or mournful.
  • Expressive of or characterized by sorrow
  • Causing sorrow


Long term



Being depressed is a disorder.

Being sad is an emotion.


  • Clinical depression
  • Chronic depression
  • Atypical Depression
  • Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression)
  • Seasonal Depression (SAD)
  • Psychotic Depression
  • The Pain of Grief and Loss
  • “I don’t care” sadness
  • Self Pity Sadness
  • Wallowing Sadness


Depression is caused by a number of factors in a person’s life. Some known causes include abuse, certain medications, conflict, death or a loss, genetics, major changes, personal problems, serious illnesses and substance abuse.

According the studies, sadness occurs due to feelings getting hurt, losing something special, missing someone, hearing about something sad, someone dying, or problems like bullying, friendship troubles, money problems, losing a job, etc.


Low energy, a loss of interest in normal activities, change in appetite, weight gain or weight loss, excessive sleep or insomnia, and the loss of ability to concentrate.

Sadness is one of the symptoms of depression. Loss of interest, inability to sleep at night, trouble with your weight and appetite, as well as feeling guilty, having trouble concentrating, etc.


Depending on the worseness of the depression, it can be cured through medicines, therapy and various other measures.

Divert your mind in some other activity. For example, doing something of your interest like listening to songs, coloring, going out for shopping, etc.

Image Courtesy: touchstonehealthpartners.org, retro-d0ll.deviantart.com

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