How Clinical Depression Is Different From Sadness

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True depression is different from the normal sadness that most people feel at some points in their lives.  It is a medical condition that affects every part of your life.  Understanding the difference between normal sadness and clinical depression can help you to decide if you are experiencing a natural feeling of sadness or if your condition might warrant treatment by a professional.  If you are not sure then it is always best to get it checked out if only to be on the safe side.

Every Part Of Life

Depression impacts every area of your life.  It can alter your eating habits, your weight, you sleeping patterns, your work performance and attendance, and your relationships.  Because of its far reaching effects,  depression is disabling.  It prevents you from carrying on the life that you had before its onset.  You do not act like you used to, and you probably do not feel like yourself anymore either.

This condition is not something you just pull yourself out of.  The condition itself can often prevent the individual from seeking help or from even wanting help.  It can last for weeks, months, or even years.

How It Is Different from Sadness

Normal sadness is brought about by challenging and upsetting situations in life.  Something happens and you feel sad and depressed as a result.  It is a clear cause and effect relationship.  Sometime not long after it starts, the condition begins to resolve itself.  After a few days or so you start to feel better.

Depression in the clinical form is more enduring.  It lasts at least two weeks and disrupts your normal functioning.  The symptoms of the clinical disorder are more lasting than, and not as easy to get rid of as, basic sadness.


The symptoms of serious depression can manifest differently for different people.  They can be physical, behavioural, and emotional.  They can include changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, changes in weight, and decreased energy.  There is fatigue and a loss of interest in the usual activities of daily life.

There is the telltale persistent sadness that lasts at least two weeks and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt.  There may also be suicidal ideation in some cases.  Professional help is needed immediately if this is the case.

True depression, clinically diagnosed, is separate from sadness.  Sadness is a reaction to life and passes in an appropriate amount of time.  Clinical depression, however, is enduring.  By understanding the difference between the two, you can help discern if you just have the blues or if you need to seek professional help.

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