Isolation and Depression

Isolation and DepressionIsolation can contribute to depression, and depression can lead to isolation. The two can interact in profoundly destructive ways, plunging a person into a cycle of deepening depression and isolation.

There are a vast number of ways in which isolation and depression interact. For instance, clinical depression, including major (also known as unipolar) depression and bipolar disorder, can lead to isolation. Other mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, neurosis, psychosis, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse disorders and eating disorders, can lead to isolation, which can then contribute to depression. Isolation and depression can also result simply from circumstances in the absence of any pre-existing mental health issue.

How Circumstances Can Contribute to Isolation

A person can become isolated through an infinite variety of circumstances. Personal circumstances, such as the loss of a loved one or simply moving to a new area, can lead to isolation as people suddenly find themselves cut off from the people who previously were sources of strength and support. It is likely that individuals did not even appreciate the extent to which they relied on these people until they were no longer available.

Isolation does not have to be physical but can be primarily emotional and exist even in proximity to large numbers of people. For instance, a person who lives in a crowded urban area may nonetheless feel profoundly lonely; he or she may venture into the world on a regular basis while working, commuting and shopping, yet still lack any real human interaction.

How Depression Can Contribute to Isolation

As mentioned above, clinical depression or even temporary depression resulting from circumstances in a person’s life can lead to physical and emotional isolation. Depressed people are inclined to withdraw from others, spending inordinate amounts of time alone. Depressed people typically lack motivation to do anything and sometimes find it difficult even to get out of bed. When they are around others, they often exude an aura of depression, causing others to distance themselves from them. This reaction from others can exacerbate feelings of depression further and serve as confirmation in the mind of the depressed individual that he or she is disliked and unlovable. As a result, the person is likely to withdraw further, increasing the physical and emotional isolation, which in turn will only compound the depression. At this point, the cycle of isolation and depression becomes a continuous downward spiral from which it is extremely difficult to escape.

Treating Depression

Depression is a serious and possibly dangerous condition that may require treatment. Everyone experiences a certain degree of depression from time to time; occasional depression that results from stresses and disappointments in life will usually go away after a time, especially if the situation improves. However, some people suffer from chronic, unrelenting depression that can result from a variety of causes, including mental health issues or situations beyond their control. In such cases, depression that is left untreated can lead to disastrous consequences, including serious harm to every aspect of the person’s life and possibly even suicide.

Treatment is available to help depressed individuals cope with their depression no matter what the cause. For help finding treatment for depression, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today.