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How Depression Affects Relationships

1 in 6 Americans struggles with depression. Every day they live with feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation, lack of pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, feelings of sadness, increased irritability, and more. Getting up in the morning and making it through their day requires more strength and energy compared with someone not struggling with depression. Depression not only affects the individual struggling with depression and it also affects the relationships in their life.

Whether it’s you or a loved one struggling with depression, below is a list of ways depression affects relationships.

Withdrawal From Family and Friends
Individuals struggling with depression often pull away from the people in their life. To find the energy or motivation to engage with family and friends or in previously enjoyable activities can be daunting, making it easier for them to pull away and isolate.

Affects School and Work
Depression often results in a lack of motivation which is an important factor in reaching school and work deadlines. People struggling with depression find it difficult to meet their deadlines and responsibilities. Particularly because it becomes difficult to focus on the work and tasks at hand and engage with colleagues and peers.

Irritated By Others
It is not uncommon for someone struggling with depression to be irritable. They often feel alone or misunderstood. As a result when family, friends, partners, colleagues, and others make a request the individual may begin to feel irritated or even burdened by the request. This irritability increases tension and confrontation in relationships placing a strain on them. In addition, individuals struggling with depression may react to a situation in a way that’s out of proportion to what the situation warrants.

Reduced Intimacy In Romantic Relationships
Part of relationships is being intimate with your partner. Individuals struggling with depression often experience a lack of sex drive. This lack of sex drive can stem from various factors such as exhaustion, body image concerns, side effects of medication, and more. This can create a strain in the relationship as a sexual connection is an important part of a romantic relationship.

Doubting The Future Of A Romantic Relationship
With depression comes intrusive negative thoughts which can result in doubting the relationship. As a result, normal confrontation may result in doubting their relationship. The individual may think “He/she does not like me,” “this relationship is not going anywhere,” and more. These intrusive thoughts exacerbate the individual’s feelings of depression and may even fall like a danger or a threat to the individual’s well-being. This may result in the individual to pull away from the relationship or react impulsively as a means to protect themself.