There has been a controversy swirling about as to whether depression has been too broadly defined by drug manufacturers in an effort to enhance sales. Is it depression or sadness? This has had the effect of turning depression into more of a “medicine” problem. Depression is much more than that. First of all, it is normal. It is normal to feel depressed when you’ve suffered the loss of a family member, you have been given a diagnosis of cancer; etc. While I am not being dismissive of the pain and suffering that these events cause, these are normal everyday events. Events that we work on and usually learn to accept. The depression and sadness usually subside. However if these depressive/sadness reactions persist and/or intensify, consulting a specialist in the health or mental health fields may be helpful. This article may help you determine if you may be experiencing sadness or depression. It lists the symptoms of each:

The Difference Between Feeling Sad and Having Depression

“Sadness is a symptom of depression, but it is not the only one. Here are some signs that can help you determine if you or your loved one is feeling sad or is facing depression.

A person who is feeling sad:

Might express emotion through crying.
Might spend time alone.
Can maintain regular eating and sleeping patterns.
Can participate in regular activities, such as work or school.
Starts feeling better in a few days or weeks.

A person who has depression:

Might experience unusual feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, hopelessness, helplessness and irritability that last two weeks or more.
Might move more slowly or sometimes becomes agitated and unable to settle.
Might have sleeping difficulties or sometimes sleep too much.
Might lose interest in activities that used to be enjoyable.
Might have thoughts about self-harm or suicide.”