Sadness and joy (elation) are part of everyday life. Sadness is a universal response to defeat, disappointment, and other discouraging situations. Joy is a universal response to success, achievement, and other encouraging situations. Grief, a form of sadness, is considered a normal emotional response to a loss. Bereavement refers specifically to the emotional response to the death of a loved one.
A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is overly intense and persistent, is accompanied by a requisite number of other mood disorder symptoms, and significantly impairs the person’s capacity to function.