What Is Sadness?
Sadness is a basic human emotion that usually occurs in response to emotionally or psychologically painful situations. Sadness may be associated with feelings of sorrow, disappointment, helplessness, grief, and despair. Everyone feels sadness at some point in their lives.
Sadness can lead to depression, which is a mental illness that often has no specific cause and can make it difficult to function.
Some differences between sadness and depression:
- Sadness is temporary while depression lasts longer
- Sadness usually has a trigger, while depression often has no specific cause
- When you are sad, you can usually still experience moments of joy, but if you are depressed it is often all-encompassing
What Are Symptoms of Sadness?
Symptoms of sadness may include:
- Loss of interest in things that used to cause joy
- Withdrawal from others
- Sleeping more than usual
- Fatigue/low energy
All these symptoms may also be symptoms of depression. If symptoms are severe, last more than two weeks, or are accompanied by feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or others, see a doctor immediately.
What Causes Sadness?
Sadness usually occurs in response to emotionally or psychologically painful situations, such as:
- Loss of a loved one
- Loss of a pet
- Job loss
- Loss of status
- Loss of income
- Physical pain
- From illness
- Hormone changes
- Sadness of others
How Is Sadness Diagnosed?
Sadness is diagnosed by psychological examination to determine whether it qualifies as a symptom of clinical depression. Patients may be asked a series of questions to determine if depression is present.
What Is the Treatment for Sadness?
Sadness often requires no treatment; the feelings will go away on their own. In some cases, talk therapy can help people overcome sadness.
If sadness is chronic and all-encompassing, it may be considered to be depression. Treatments for depression include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
- Atypical antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin) and mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Serotonin modulators such as trazodone, vilazodone (Viibryd), and vortioxetine (Trintellix)
- Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as nortriptyline (Pamelor) and desipramine (Norpramin)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline (Emsam patch), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and phenelzine (Nardil)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal psychotherapy
- Family and couples’ therapy
- Problem solving therapy
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
What Are Complications of Sadness?
The main complication of sadness is that it may progress to depression, which is a serious mental illness.
How Do You Prevent Sadness?
You may not always be able to prevent loss and other sad events in life, but you may be able to reduce sadness and improve your response to these setbacks.