Isolation and Depression

Isolation and Depression

Isolation often contributes to depression and leads people to avoid others for any of the following reasons:

  • Out of fear of pain or from depression
  • Out of fear of being abandoned, or due to shame or a low self-worth
  • This isolation continues in spite of the problems it causes social or professional relationships
  • Episodes of isolation may last up to several days

Isolation appears in two primary ways, emotional and social, and both of them are incredibly dangerous.

What is Emotional Isolation?

People who are emotionally isolated distance themselves from other people. In addition to being remote or pulling away from others emotionally, isolated people often show little interest in the feelings of others. People who are emotionally isolated usually feel lonely, unable to relate to others and often suffer from depression, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

What Is Social Isolation?

While people who are emotionally isolated can interact with others socially, social isolation means physical isolation. Physically distancing yourself by staying home and avoiding conversation and contact with others are characteristics of a socially isolated person.

The Cycle of Isolation and Depression

While psychologists and sociologists investigate whether depression causes isolation or isolation causes depression, they all agree that these qualities have a definite relationship. For example, feeling depressed can lead people to isolate themselves, but isolation can increase feelings of loneliness and depression.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression can affect people of all ages; children, teens, adults and seniors can all experience depression. This disorder can affect a person’s physical, mental, psychological, emotional and physiological health with any of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Changes in appetite
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Fatigue and excessive tiredness
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things go poorly
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

When people respond to depression with isolation, the cycle reinforces these symptoms.

Complications Associated with Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, complications associated with depression can include the following issues:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Work or school problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from other medical conditions

Without treatment depression can initiate behaviors that are more harmful and destructive.

Help for Depression and Isolation

The sooner you get help for depression and isolation, the greater the likelihood is that you can recover. To be assured of confidentiality and to receive answers to your questions, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime. We want to help you find the right treatment program to handle depression and can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources. We are here to help.