Grieving Is Not the Same as Being Depressed

Girl Grieving Image

Question: Are grief and depression the same thing?

Answer: Although grief and depression both entail feeling sad, they are different. Grief is usually the result of a specific event, such as the death of a loved one. The sadness comes in waves, is usually temporary and resolves without treatment.

Depression is a more persistent and unremitting sadness accompanied by muted or "deadened" feelings and an inability to enjoy once-pleasurable activities.

If grief over an event doesn't seem to be subsiding after several months, you may be depressed. If you experience symptoms such as sleep problems, inability to carry out daily routines or overuse of drugs or alcohol, talk to your physician about treatment options. If you are having thoughts of suicide, contact a health professional immediately.

Grief & Aging

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September 2014, a British study published online in Immunity and Ageing showed that grief can weaken the immune system in older adults—increasing the risk for illnesses and infections.

More research is needed, but it may be that the balance of stress hormones—cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS)—during periods of grieving changes with age. Strong support from family in friends is important to help manage risks in older adults who are experiencing grief. The effects of hormonal supplements and similar products also are being studied.

Source: From our sister publication Remedy's Healthy Living Spring 2013; Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 21 Feb 2013

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014