Image of a woman sitting with a sad and confused expression.

Why Am I Feeling Sad for No Reason?

by | Oct 27, 2023 | Blog

Understanding Unexplained Sadness

Imagine the staggering reality: Over 17 million American adults across the country struggle with major depressive disorder. It affects every part of their life, from their enjoyment of their hobbies to job performance.

If you ask, ‘Why am I feeling sad for no reason?’ that question is an opportunity for introspection and self-acceptance as you may struggle with underlying depression. Depression, a prevalent mental health condition, doesn’t discriminate. It affects individuals from all walks of life – your friend, your doctor, your fellow student, or even a CEO may grapple with depression. Sadly, due to factors such as limited awareness, scarce resources, or the fear of societal stigma, many individuals do not receive an official diagnosis. This, in turn, denies them the treatment they rightfully deserve.

Here’s what you need to know about depression, what causes it, and some coping strategies.

Why Am I Feeling Sad for No Reason?

The truth is that no one feels sad for no reason at all. Externalizing or internalizing your feelings of depression can be counterproductive because, in reality, every amount of sadness has a root cause, whether it stems from external life circumstances or more intricate factors. Depression is a complex and nuanced condition, which can be challenging to identify due to its potentially subtle or hidden nature.

A significant number of individuals experience depression but are not aware that their feelings of sadness are linked to this condition. They may not recognize that their depression is the fundamental reason behind their feelings of unhappiness or sorrow.— In fact, only 34.9% of people with depression have had a formal diagnosis. Equally concerning, 31.45% recorded a PHQ-9 score exceeding 10, which signifies moderate to severe depression.

Many people naturally search for explanations to make sense of their low mood, irritability, and other symptoms. For instance, they might attribute their unhappiness to their demanding work hours. It’s a common tendency to associate their sadness with real-life situations they believe might be causing it. In some cases, this connection might be accurate, leading to what’s known as situational depression. Unlike clinical depression, situational depression is often transient and typically linked to specific events or circumstances in one’s life. However, its important to understand that situational depression can manifest if it’s left unaddressed and persists over time. It can evolve into clinical depression, marked by enduring and severe symptoms.

In practice, depression is a group of conditions associated with fluctuating a person’s mood. It’s linked to disruptions in neurotransmitters like serotonin. The result is a change in your brain’s gray matter.  Depression, in many ways, resembles any other illness. However, due to the challenges in visualizing the brain and its altered functioning, it’s easy to detach from the necessity of treatment or mistakenly perceive depression as a personal choice or character trait. It’s essential to remember that depression is not who you are but rather something you can treat and find relief from. When it comes to your personal experience, depression has a weight to it that helps differentiate it from a low mood.

Some depression symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of interest in your normal hobbies
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia

With depression, it’s possible to transition from a normal mood to overwhelming sadness in just a few hours. It’s not uncommon to conceal your emotions throughout the workday and then experience emotional breakdowns once you return home. Your sleep patterns may be affected, which may result in too much or too little sleep.

Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by a litany of different sources. Some individuals may experience it as a natural part of the aging process, where their bodies become challenged in producing sufficient serotonin to maintain their well-being. For others, a deficiency in serotonin, present from an early age, can lead to lifelong struggles with depression.

The common triggers for depression encompass a broad spectrum, including genetic predisposition, physical illness, overwhelming stress, substance use, and even the life-changing event of giving birth. Additionally, depression often coexists with other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, making each individual’s journey with depression unique and deserving of understanding and support.

Other Depression Indicators

While depression may not be as uncommon as one might believe, it’s important to recognize that your symptoms could be indicative of other underlying issues in your life. For instance, certain illnesses that lead to low energy levels can mimic the symptoms of depression. Additionally, there is a possibility that you have a hormone imbalance contributing to these symptoms. Exploring all potential factors is essential. Consulting an expert with a holistic lens can help uncover the root causes of your challenges, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your well-being.

But what else can be at play?


Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. This hormone is directly responsible for regulating your weight, energy levels, and metabolism.

If your hormone levels are too low, then you can easily find yourself putting on weight and feeling listless throughout the day. Anyone suffering from depression may feel especially depressed and may even find themselves bedridden without medical attention. While

Lack of Sleep

Insomnia is another direct cause of poor mood. Bad sleep quality will result in your brain being unable to process emotions properly. This can lead to irritability as well as an increased chance of illness.

On the flip side, depression can also cause insomnia. One way it does so is by causing your thoughts to ruminate. A restless mind will struggle to calm down enough for you to sleep. As a result, the interplay between depression and insomnia can exacerbate both conditions, leaving individuals grappling with the profound impacts on their mental and physical well-being.

Vitamin Deficiency

Just like hormone imbalances, insufficient specific vitamins can mess with your mood and energy levels. We’re talking about vitamins like B12, B6, magnesium, iron, and vitamin D.

Here’s the situation: depression can disrupt your appetite, which, in turn, can result in a deficiency of these essential vitamins. This contributes to long-term adverse effects – your emotional well-being suffers, and your body operates on an energy deficit. It creates a challenging cycle that can significantly affect your overall well-being. This cycle can worsen depressive symptoms over time, leading to lasting effects.

Depression Coping Strategies

The first thing you should do if you feel like you may have depression is to take an “Am I depressed quiz” online. These are a great way to verify if you have any of the symptoms associated with depression and whether or not you should talk to a therapist for confirmation.

If you struggle with depression, there are some ways to cope with it and stop it from controlling your life.

Meditation is a great way to create mindfulness regarding your situation and help you manage your symptoms. It protects your hippocampus, which increases gray matter. Meditation also allows you to prepare your mind for stressful situations that you would otherwise struggle with.

Other ways to cope with depression include activities that naturally create dopamine, such as exercise, massage therapy, and playing with a pet.

Getting a Diagnosis for Depression

Now that we’ve explored the signs and causes of depression, you might be curious about how to obtain an official diagnosis. Gaining a deeper understanding of your condition and reaching out for professional support are vital steps on your path to managing depression.

Consulting the Experts:

If you suspect you may be grappling with depression, it’s wise to seek guidance from a mental health professional. They have the knowledge and experience to evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and overall emotional well-being. These assessments involve using established tools and their clinical expertise to determine whether your experiences align with the criteria for a depression diagnosis.

It’s common for many individuals to initiate conversations with their primary care providers, which can serve as a gateway to expert guidance. While we strongly recommend obtaining an official diagnosis from a mental health specialist. Working with the resources available to you is a part of the process of identifying the need for support with your depression treatment. Seeking professional advice is a significant step toward managing your condition. It helps you not only comprehend your situation better but also guides your treatment choices, which may encompass a blend of treatment modalities. Taking those first steps is often the hardest but sets you in motion toward a path to healing.

Online Screening:

An alternative starting point is an “Am I depressed quiz” or a depression self-assessment online. These tools can provide initial insights into your emotional well-being. While they can’t replace professional evaluation, they serve to help you gauge whether your symptoms correspond to those associated with depression. Feel free to use our depression self-assessment tool and receive guidance from our team for treatment options.

Common Depression Medications

One of the most common and widely recognized first-line treatments for depression is the use of antidepressants. These can often be hit or miss, depending on the type and the source of your depression. For this reason, it’s frequently recommended that you combine first-line medication treatments with other coping strategies, such as therapy, to achieve a more comprehensive approach to managing your condition.

The most frequently prescribed SSRIs include fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and citalopram. Typically, your doctor will begin treatment with a lower dose to assess its suitability for your specific needs, aiming to provide relief while minimizing side effects.

Maintaining consistency in your medication routine and staying in touch with your healthcare provider as you explore different options is key. Additionally, be mindful not to mix antidepressants with other substances like alcohol or other medications. Your doctor will offer guidance on potential interactions to safeguard your well-being and enhance the effectiveness of your treatment.

Find Depression Treatment Near Me

“Why am I feeling sad for no reason?” Chances are good that you’re suffering from depression. This is a normal thing to go through, and there are resources available to help you get through this difficult time.

If you’re looking for “depression treatment near me,” look no further than BestMind Behavioral Health. We offer mental health services in both Colorado and Oregon. You can choose in-person treatment at our various office locations, which include Denver, CO, Broomfield, CO, Portland, OR, Clackamas, OR, and our newest site in Salem, OR. Alternatively, we offer telehealth services, ensuring easy access to the support you need.  Contact us to learn more and schedule an appointment online.