Differences between sadness and depression

Sadness and depression are two conditions that affect people’s moods, these occur when they have experienced some negative or unpleasant episode of loss, failure in plans and projects or various deficiencies. These mental states have as a common point the fact that they directly affect the vital energy and motivation of the person. In addition, they are often accompanied by other emotions such as hopelessness, frustration or impatience.

Despite this, sadness and depression are two totally different mental states, although both concepts are often confused. Therefore, it is in our interest to highlight the differences between them in order to distinguish them, knowing the causes and consequences of each of them.


Sadness is a primary emotion that is experienced when the person experiences negative situations such as the loss of a loved one, the loss of a precious object, a love breakup, the non-compliance of a project or when learning about a negative situation that affects others. . Therefore, this is a natural response to negative situations, since, when the person faces them, the mood is affected by feeling frustration and disappointment.

On the other hand, sadness affects the mood of the person and in turn generates other symptoms such as apathy, pessimism, hopelessness, insomnia, lack of appetite and restlessness and in some cases it is accompanied by headache and anguish. In addition, because it is an emotion, sadness is temporary, that is, it occurs when the person goes through a certain situation and as it is overcome, sadness disappears.

Sometimes, sadness can occur due to hormonal changes in the person, with a higher incidence in women who go through recurrent hormonal changes that affect their mood. This can also be a symptom of depression, which is a psychological disorder.


Depression is a psychological disorder characterized by the person being in a state of deep sadness or anguish. This can be temporary or permanent (chronic), so it is temporary when it lasts between two weeks and six months and it is permanent when it lasts more than six months.

In this sense, to get out of a depressive state, it is recommended that the person receive adequate therapeutic treatment, so that the negative feelings associated with depression such as decay, lack of spirit, sadness, anguish, irritability, feeling of malaise, helplessness, lack of appetite and insomnia are minimized and the person can carry out their usual activities.

On the other hand, the causes of depression can be diverse, it occurs when the person faces a situation that generates sadness and frustration such as the loss of a loved one or a love breakup, among other things, and the person is unable to overcome primary emotions such as sadness even if days and weeks have passed.

It should be noted that depression affects both the nervous system and the immune system of the person, which is why, when in a depressive state, the person is more likely to suffer from certain pathologies and diseases and lives in a state of permanent anguish. .

Among the most important characteristics of depression and which in turn represent an important sign for the identification of the disease are abulia (lack of will or initiative and energy) and anhedonia (loss of interest or satisfaction in almost all activities ).

According to what was previously stated, it can be said that the main differences between sadness and depression are:

  • Sadness is a characteristic primary emotion of the human being while depression is a psychological disorder.
  • Sadness is temporary while depression can be temporary or permanent (chronic).
  • Sadness can be accompanied by symptoms such as lack of energy, appetite and motivation and hopelessness, while depression is characterized by symptoms such as abulia and anhedonia.

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