How Are Depression And Isolation Connected?

By Gabrielle Seunagal |Updated August 10, 2022

The connection between depression and isolation stems from the impact of each condition that is experienced by the individual. Many people who experience depression also have a tendency to isolate themselves as a result. Likewise, ongoing isolation can contribute to or worsen the existence of depression. It is helpful to be aware that, while depression and isolation can exist as separate entities, they are also very much intertwined. However, before anyone can truly understand the links between depression and isolation, it's important to fully grasp these entities individually.

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An Overview Of Depression

Mayo Clinic defines depression as a "mood disorder which causes a persistent feeling of sadness or lack of interest." Depression has a way of creeping up on people and can easily impede their ability to successfully function in the world. This type of mental health issue has the power to impact a person's mental, emotional, and even physical wellbeing. It goes without saying that depression can be extremely harmful, especially if it lasts for long periods of time without the individual getting the help they need. Being fully aware of depression and all that it entails can help people to prepare themselves accordingly.

Symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms associated with depression. Some of the most common symptoms include, but are not limited to, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and a lack of interest in activities which the individual normally enjoys. Individuals who are going through depression are also susceptible to extreme losses or gains in weight, concentration troubles, and even thoughts of suicide. (If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7.) It goes without saying that depression can be a very heavy burden for people who are going through it. Symptoms of depression can vary in degree, and have a tendency to worsen and intensify over time. This is why dealing with depression as soon as it arises makes such a significant difference.

Causes

There is no one specific cause of depression. However, there are a variety of factors which are linked to the development of this particular mental health issue. Environmental and hereditary factors can play a role, as can an individual's brain chemistry or exposure to trauma. It is not uncommon for people to develop depression when they are in situations that stress them out or wear on them emotionally.

Furthermore, depression can manifest when someone is related to an individual who has struggled with this issue. Certain people are more susceptible to depression than others. This can happen for so many reasons, but exposure to trauma can play a role. A person's likelihood of experiencing depression increases when they fall into multiple risk factor categories.

Treatment

In the majority of cases, treatment for depression ultimately boils down to some manner of therapy or medication. Therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy, is one of the most common and effective methods of treatment. Sometimes medication alone will suffice; in other situations, a combination of medication and therapy may help someone who is working to manage depression. It's important to note that any treatment for depression should be administered by a doctor or therapist.

An Overview Of Isolation

Isolation can be more dangerous than most people realize. Human beings are inherently social creatures and we're wired to interact with other people. When this doesn't happen, that opens up the door to various mental and emotional health issues. In the most extreme cases, when someone has consistently lacked interactions with others, the brain can begin to manufacture experiences with others in order to combat habitual isolation.

Why Do Some People Experience Isolation?

There are a number of reasons an individual may experience isolation. In many cases, these reasons include being around the wrong people, feeling like an outcast, or even shutting oneself off from others. Not everyone is isolated by force of others. Sometimes, when individuals feel heightened stressed, they may alienate themselves from other people. This can happen under various circumstances, and is generally unhealthy. When someone is experiencing high stress levels, it’s important to lean on social support networks.

The Connection Between Depression And Isolation

As previously stated, the connection between depression and isolation stems from the impacts which human beings experience. Neither depression or isolation are healthy or conducive to living a healthy, positive, or constructive quality of life. This is why there are various measures which are designed to help individuals to overcome depression and isolation. However, a person who is regularly depressed or isolated from other human beings is bound to experience some negative results after a period of time.

Damage To Interpersonal Relationships

Depression and isolation have a tendency to warp an individual's outlook on life. This is why interpersonal relationships can take often take a hit when someone is struggling in one or both of these issues. Healthy interpersonal relationships are largely built off of trust, communication, and mutual respect from one another. Some people may take it personally when someone whom they considered to be a friend no longer associates with them or loses interest in shared activities which were once enjoyed. Unfortunately, these people may also miss the signs that someone is dealing with mental health issues, hence why they're not acting as their usual selves. Mental health issues are never your fault. It’s important to note that you should never feel ashamed or pressured to open up to your loved ones. However, it can help them understand why you can’t spend time together.

Low Self-Esteem

An individual who experiences depression and/or isolation may also have low self-esteem. This is quite common, as depression tends to wear on people and can cause them to devalue themselves. Isolation can also have the same effects, especially after extended periods of time. After adapting to unhealthy, frequent isolation from others, some people may believe that they are unworthy of being in the company of others. Isolation may even be used as a form of self-punishment, especially if it's combined with depression. Obviously, this dual state of negativity is extremely harmful to any person's wellbeing on multiple levels.

Tough Times

Many people fall into the trap of depression or isolation due to tough times and challenges they are experiencing in life. This does not mean that every person who struggles in life will go through depression or isolation, but the likelihood increases. Furthermore, a person who is consistently stressed or emotionally drained may struggle to look at things from an objective standpoint. This can also increase the vulnerability to depression or isolation. It's normal to experience challenges or tough times, but the ability to work through these things in a healthy manner is what ultimately makes the greatest difference in the end. A licensed therapist can help you cope with life’s challenges in healthy ways.

Other Commonly Asked Questions

Is self isolation a symptom of depression?

Why do depressed people become isolated?

Why do people isolate themselves?

What does isolation do to mental health?

How do you deal with someone who is isolating themselves?

Is self isolation a coping mechanism?

Is isolation a trauma?

What isolation does to the brain?

How long does it take to go insane in isolation?

What happens to a human when they spend too much time alone?

Unresolved Trauma

There are many scenarios where depression and isolation can manifest as the symptoms of unresolved trauma. This is more common than many people would like to believe. The issues which are not addressed and properly dealt with have a way of lingering and manifesting in other undesirable ways. If you are feeling depressed and lack interest in being around other people, yet cannot explain why, this may be a sign that there are unresolved issues from your past which are coming back to haunt you.

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Overcoming Depression, Isolation And Other Mental Health Issues

When someone is faced with depression, isolation, or a different mental health issue altogether, it can be very easy to feel trapped. However, it's always important to remember that overcoming obstacles is possible. It may take time and there may be certain roadblocks, but it can be done. Living a healthy lifestyle, pushing yourself to interact with others (even if said interactions are minimal), and having the willingness to push forward always makes a difference in life. Understanding the various links between depression and isolation is also advantageous and makes a difference in many lives.

No Shame In Asking For Help

One of the most common misconceptions about struggles with mental health is that people have to go through them alone. This is simply not true. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or realizing that you can't do it all on your own. In fact, feeling as though you have to do everything by yourself can often worsen depression and isolation. Regardless of how strong or capable someone is, everyone needs help sometimes and there's nothing wrong with admitting that. Knowing when to ask for help is always a sign of strength.

If you're unsure of where to turn for help or guidance, BetterHelp therapy can definitely be beneficial to you. Therapists from BetterHelp understand that depression and isolation present unique challenges, as do other mental health issues. This is why we want to be there for you and ensure that you are not alone. Having the right support system always makes a difference, but this is especially imperative during challenging times.

At the end of the day, you have the ability to overcome any challenge or obstacle which presents itself to you. Sometimes, when people are going through depression or isolation, they feel like they can't get through it. Therapy with BetterHelp will not only prove that you can get through whatever you are going through, but it also proves that you don't have to go through it on your own.

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