How Do Those with Depression Experience Loneliness?

Depression is a serious mental illness that can change what was once considered joyful and pleasant for a person to a dark, gloomy haze. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, perhaps you’re feeling this right now – fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, and more can ensue and all you want to do is go right back to bed after you just got up; depression often affects sleeping, eating, and other behavioral patterns of a person as they become less engaged with the life around them due to the disorder’s all encompassing and demanding nature. If you know of someone with depression, understanding what they go through could help you provide them with more support – if you’re struggling with depression yourself, this could be a sign that you need to seek treatment today.

A 2017 study published in the journal Interpersonal and Biological Processes sought to explore states of loneliness amongst those diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD); a total of 417 females participated in the study, as researchers assessed them periodically for 20 months of follow up. Ultimately, the researchers found that participants were more likely to isolate themselves after social company, which further contributed to the development of MDD. Since those with MDD are more prone to experience negative perceptions of social interactions, anticipate rejection, show a lower positive response to rewarding situations, it’s more likely that these individuals will retreat to themselves when they can.

Everyday Health emphasizes a variety of actions that can be taken to help a person with depression counteract their feelings of loneliness:

  • Planning to participate in activities, even if you don’t feel like it
  • Exploring your spirituality
  • Set realistic standards for yourself when it comes to making and keeping friends
  • Call someone whom you can trust
  • Meditate
  • Engage in therapy

Loneliness may be a common experience for depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that will be there forever. Depression ultimately puts a dull, low, negative undertone to a person’s way of thinking – if you can remember this, you can take small steps to overcome it.

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