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Sadness isn't depression and restlessness is not ADHD: know the difference

People tend to confuse sadness with depression and restlessness with ADHD. While these medical conditions display similar symptoms, It is important to know their differences.

India TV Health Desk Edited By: India TV Health Desk New Delhi Published on: March 28, 2023 17:30 IST
depression and restlessness
Image Source : FREEPIK Sadness isn't depression and restlessness is not ADHD: know the difference

Mental health is a critical aspect of our overall well being, and it's essential to understand the nuances between different mental health conditions. Often, people tend to conflate common symptoms like sadness and restlessness with more severe conditions like depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

Let us explore the differences between them to identify the signs and symptoms of each and seek appropriate help.

Sadness Vs Depression 

Sadness is a common human emotion that individuals experience when faced with certain situations that cause emotional pain or distress. Unlike depression, which is a medical condition characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in activities once enjoyed, sadness is a fleeting emotion that typically resolves with time.

Depression is a mental health disorder that can significantly impact a person's mood, thoughts, and behaviour. It is typically characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness that last for two weeks or more. 

Symptoms of sadness include:

  • Feeling low or down
  • Changes in appetite or weight 
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Tearfulness or crying spells

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Constant feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of deep, unwarranted guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Constant thoughts about death
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

In order to distinguish between sadness and depression, doctors may use various diagnostic tools. They may ask the patient a series of questions to determine whether you are experiencing sadness or depression.

Restlessness Vs ADHD 

Restlessness refers to a state of physical or mental agitation and the inability to sit still or focus. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as anxiety, stress, or boredom. While restlessness is a common experience for many people at certain times, it is important to distinguish it from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is a neurological condition. 

Studies indicate that people who experience anxiety, depression, or stress may also experience symptoms of ADHD, even if they have not been previously diagnosed with the disorder.

Symptoms of restlessness may include: 

  • Fidgeting
  • Pacing
  • Tapping one's feet
  • A racing mind 
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Uneasy feeling 

Children with ADHD may exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Daydreaming, becoming easily distracted, or losing track of things.
  • Squirming, fidgeting, or being constantly on the go.
  • Interrupting others or engaging in risky behaviours.
  • Carelessness and lack of attention to detail, making mistakes, forgetting important things.

It's important to seek a professional diagnosis from a healthcare provider before assuming these  conditions can have similar symptoms. With proper diagnosis and treatment, people with  ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead happy, healthy lives.

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