Difference Between Frustration and Depression

Frustration vs Depression

Distinguishing the difference between frustration and depression can be somewhat confusing as these two emotions have some connection. Remember that we have to understand frustration and depression as two different terms between which we can observe certain links. As human beings, we all experience frustration and some level of depression in life. Frustration can be defined as an emotion that people experience, when they cannot achieve their goals. Depression, on the other hand, has to be understood as a psychological condition where a person feels no interest in any activity and feels helpless. A person can feel this state of helplessness, when he cannot achieve his goals. This highlights that frustration can lead to depression. This article attempts to highlight the difference between the two terms.

What is Frustration?

Frustration can be understood as an emotion that an individual feels when a goal cannot be achieved or fulfilled. This is a very normal condition that all of us experience on a daily basis when we cannot complete a task due to some obstacle that stand in our way. This obstacle can be an internal obstacle or else an external obstacle. For example, imagine a person who wants to continue his higher studies, but is unable to because he is facing financial issues and has to find a job. The person feels frustrated because his goal is being blocked by another mandatory provision. This is an example for an instance of frustration in our lives. As mentioned above, the causes of frustration can be either internal or external. If it is internal, it is due to a conflict within the individual which results in frustrating emotions. But, if it is due to an external cause such as people, work environment, etc., this can be identified as an external cause. Human beings have the capacity of channeling their frustration towards a particular goal and maintain their life in a healthy and happy manner. However, if a person is very much frustrated about not being able to achieve a specific target, there is a possibility for him to be angry, unhappy, disappointed and even depressed. This is where the concept of depression comes into play.

Difference Between Frustration and Depression

What is Depression?

Unlike Frustration, depression is not a common emotion that we all experience though we all can be depressed at some point in our lives. Depression is caused due to various reasons. Frustration can be viewed as one such possibility. People of all ages can be depressed ranging from a small child to an elderly person. Depression can affect the daily routine of an individual. It affects the outlook to life, the outlook to self and also changes the way we see the world. Unlike frustration, depression is considered as a psychological disorder, which needs to be treated with the usage of therapy and medication. A person who is depressed has little energy, feels defeated, helpless, worthless, and tired. Such a person may suffer from insomnia as well and detach from all activities. He may also have suicidal thoughts.

 Frustration vs Depression

What is the difference between Frustration and Depression?

• Frustration is an emotion that people experience, when they cannot achieve their goals.

• Depression is a psychological condition where a person feels no interest in any activity and feels helpless.

• An excessive level of frustration can cause depression.

• Unlike frustration, as depression is a psychological disorder, it needs to be treated with therapy and medication.

• A frustrated person may show emotions such as anger, unhappiness, disappointment, and even depression while a depressed person may feel defeated, helpless, worthless, and tired.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Frustrated man by LaurMG. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Depression by Sander van der Wel (CC BY-SA 2.0)