Depression vs. Sadness
By Ashima Gupta, Psychologist
Everyone experiences sadness in one situation or another, which is a normal human feeling. When we are hurt or disappointed, our typical reaction is sadness. Different levels of melancholy exist. But, like other emotions, sadness also is short-lived.
A longer-lasting mental disorder is a depression. It hinders functioning in crucial areas such as social and occupational interactions. It is important to treat depressive symptoms as they can last for a very long time if left unaddressed and can cause severe harm.
Sometimes, sadness might seem all-encompassing. But one should also be able to laugh or feel comforted occasionally. Sadness is different from depression. All facets of one’s life will be impacted by the emotions one experiences. Finding happiness in anything, including the things and people one used to appreciate, may be difficult or even impossible. Depression is not an emotion; it is a mental illness.
Depression symptoms could include:
- Persistently depressed
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits due to exhaustion
- Difficulties concentrating
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities and a lack of willingness to engage in them
- Feelings of intense, undeserved guilt
- Somatic symptoms such as body aches or headaches without a known cause
- Sense of helplessness and worthlessness
- Persistent death-related ideas
- Suicidal attempts and thoughts
Some of these symptoms could be experienced by someone sad, but they should not last for more than two weeks. Suicidal thoughts and actions indicate depression, not sadness.
When should one seek help?
If someone is experiencing sadness for more than two weeks, speak with a doctor. Call emergency services to receive prompt medical care if you are considering suicide or have already started to do so. Keep track of whether your emotions affect your capacity to function. A practical initial step toward recovery can include talking to a professional, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or another trustworthy individual.
Simple lifestyle adjustments could be helpful if you’re feeling down, like-
- Making connections with others.
- Make a call to someone you trust
- Attend a yoga class,
- Sign up for a knitting group, running club, or other activity that interests you.
- Schedule time every day for a hobby you enjoy.
- Watch humorous films and television shows, or read a funny or lighter book.
- Participate in sports or physical activity.
- If you love animals, spend some time with one.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs as a kind of self-medication.
- You may be kind to yourself by trying to get enough sleep and by eating healthily.
- Take a warm bath before bed, or try meditation if you have problems falling asleep.
Changing your way of life could help you feel better if you’re depressed. But these modifications might not be sufficient. Psychological therapy with a qualified practitioner you trust and a pharmaceutical prescription from a psychiatrist can help if you’re depressed. By connecting to a hospital or other therapeutic environment, you can receive inpatient care if you’re suicidal or depressed.