Much of the psychological language has been found in the popular realm. However, this process has not been done in a precise way and adequate equivalences have not been put in place.One of the classic examples of this problem is the difficulty many people experience in deciding the difference between sadness and depression. The inclusion of the word "depression" in popular language has often led to confusion and rejection of the latter as an illness.
A certain contempt for these moods has even developed. Especially sadness.It is for this reason that some prefer to say that they are depressed instead of confessing that they feel sad.Depression has a more technical side; sadness is more related to human frailty.
However, we must know that there are big differences between sadness and depression. The first, and most important of all, is thatsadness is a state of mind, a mood; depression, on the other hand, is a disorder and should be treated as such.It is therefore essential to differentiate these concepts.
"Your emotions should not paralyze you, they should not stop you from being all that you can be."
-Wayne W. Dyer-
1. Duration, a decisive factor
The duration of psychological phenomena is not an exact datum. Nevertheless, this is a point that, added to others, allows us to make a more precise approximation of what happens to a person.By definition, an emotion has a short duration.
One of the big differences between sadness and depression is that the first is a transient emotion while the second is relatively chronic (unless one intervenes adequately).A person must feel sad for six months and continuously so that we can suspect the existence of depression. This is at least what the diagnostic criteria indicate.
2. Apathy, a factor that marksdifferences between sadness and depression
Apathy is, to put it simply, a difficulty or resistance to action.When someone is sad, they feel less motivated to do certain things.She reduces her social life a little, dedicates less time to her work or to other tasks she used to do. But she remains active.
A depressed person, on the other hand, is crushed by this abatement.She neglects her obligations and does not feel capable of anything. She frequently talks about her fatigue and reduces her activities to a maximum for a relatively long period of time. In clinical terms, depression is very similar to an anxiety disorder.
3. The degree of isolation
Another difference between sadness and depression is reflected in the degree of isolation found in each of these states.It is common to see a sad person looking for the proximity of trusted people to talk about how they feel.She seeks consolation from others, although she may maintain some degree of social isolation. It will depend on the person's personality and coping strategies.
With regard to depression, we see a constant rejection of contact with others. The depressed person keeps his feelings for herself and, even if she does not feel well by being alone, prefers this to the presence of others. She isolates herself gradually, even from her relatives.
4. The level of functionality
One factor that marks big differences between sadness and depression is the level of functionality.In the case of a sad person, his mood only slightly changes his usual way of life.She may be less dynamic or more reserved but, in general, she does all the activities she would do on a normal day.
On the other hand, when a person is suffering from depression,his usual routine is frequently altered. She has a hard time fulfilling her professional, family, social, emotional, and other duties.It is not uncommon to see her make repeated excuses to hide her lack of commitment or demotivation. She can not adjust to a "normal" routine.
5. The despair
A person can be sad for different reasons. These are almost always associated with a loss or a conflict situation that is difficult to resolve.Although she feels great emotional pain, she is also able to laugh, think about the future and make plans.She may not have all the answers to her questions, but she feels that the future can be good for her.
In the case of the depressed person, we find only despair. When she considers her future, she sees only a black tunnel.She feels no interest, no desire and is unable to project herself into the future. How could she, when she is already struggling to live in the present?
As we see,there are important differences between sadness and depression. The latter must be monitored and treated by a mental health professional.It is indeed a disorder that will not disappear on its own and therefore requires specialized intervention.