The Symptoms of Sadness

When you're sad, you may feel tearful all the time.
When you're sad, you may feel tearful all the time. (Image: crying image by Serg Golubev from

Feelings of occasional sadness are common. Everyone feels sad from time to time. Sadness can be a normal reaction to a loss or other sad circumstances. However, persistent feelings of sadness can be a symptom of a serious underlying mental illness like depression. If you feel extremely sad or tearful for two weeks or more, you should consult your doctor or a licensed mental health professional.


Physical symptoms of sadness manifest differently in different people. Some may experience frequent bouts of crying or feel tearful all the time. Others may have unexplained body aches and pains, upset stomach, disruptions in their digestive system such as diarrhea, or get headaches and general feelings of fatigue. Depression often manifests itself through physical symptoms. You may have disturbances in sleep, changes in your appetite, such as overeating or not feeling hungry at all, and may even experience occasional nausea.

Emotional Symptoms

Emotional symptoms of sadness go beyond the obvious signs of crying and feelings of gloom. Sometimes, sadness is a response to an actual event, such as a loss due to death or the end of a relationship. Other times, it might seem as though these feelings occur out of nowhere, with no easily identifiable stimuli. Some of the emotional symptoms of sadness can include feelings of anxiety, anger and irritability; you might even have feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, or feel that life has lost its meaning.

Social Avoidance

When you're sad, you may feel like withdrawing from others. You might feel like spending more time on your own, and you may even avoid people whose company you typically enjoy. Other social symptoms of sadness include talking less or avoiding or ignoring other types of interactions such as phone calls or emails. However, some people react differently to feelings of sadness. They may actively seek out those who will listen to their feelings or complain about their situation.

Cognitive Symptoms

Sadness can interfere with your ability to process information and to think objectively. You may feel like you have a hard time concentrating or experience difficulty focusing on specific tasks. It can be difficult for you to make decisions or to remember certain things.

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