Is Being Sad the Same Thing as Being Depressed?

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Sadness isn’t the same as depression. Constantly feeling sad for more than 2 weeks can be a symptom of depression. But not everyone with depression experiences sadness, and it’s just one potential symptom. 

Sadness, as an emotion, will generally pass on its own after a few minutes, hours, or days. Depression, on the other hand, is a diagnosable mental health condition with specific symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can diagnose depression. 

Your provider will ask about the following symptoms to determine if you have depression:

  • Feeling sad, numb, hopeless, or empty almost all the time
  • No longer enjoying your favorite activities 
  • Gaining weight or weight loss without dieting
  • Changes in your appetite 
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue, low energy, or tiredness
  • Moving faster or slower than usual
  • Feeling worthlessness or guilt even when you’re not to blame
  • Trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Your provider will also ask how your symptoms affect your ability to go about your usual routine. If your symptoms cause you a lot of distress or get in the way of your job, relationships, or ability to take care of yourself, your provider may then make a depression diagnosis.

If you’re worried about your sadness or if it interferes with your daily life, reach out to a mental healthcare provider. They can evaluate you for depression and provide additional resources to help you feel better. 

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you’re not alone and help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

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