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How does depression affect relationships?

Depression is not uncommon among the general population. As a matter of fact,

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the United States. An estimated 19.4 million adults in the U.S. had at least one episode, representing 7.8% of all population.

It is normal to experience difficulties dealing with negative emotions, but people who experience depression have particular troubles in this area and their depressive symptoms tend to affect their interpersonal relationships.

Depression affects the way we think, feel, and behave. People experiencing depression are highly likely to get overwhelmed by the intensity of their negative emotions. As a result, conflicts may arise, as someone experiencing depression may either withdraw, or explode to elicit strong emotions, like anger, towards their partners. Studies have shown that depressed men are much more likely, compared to depressed women, to express their emotions outwardly. They might balance their depressive symptoms by drinking alcohol, becoming aggressive, and even having affairs, all of which endanger interpersonal relationships.

Acting out is not going to help alleviate depressive symptoms. Relationship problems such as high conflict, lack of communication, withdrawal, and difficulty resolving problems, can exacerbate depression. The non-depressed partner might become exhausted with the effort to take care of conflicts and to support the depressed one, who would begin to feel like a burden to make others’ lives worse. As a result, depressive symptoms tend to deteriorate even further. It is indeed a vicious cycle.

So, how to reduce the negative impacts depression places on relationships?

Here are several ways you can reduce the negative impacts depression places on your relationships:

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1. Open communication with partners:

Talk openly and honestly about depression symptoms with your partners. Let them know that you are vulnerable and sensitive. It might be difficult to avoid conflicts, but it is not anyone’s fault.

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2. Seek Counseling:

Professional help is certainly necessary, if the situation is out of control. Mental health counselors could help patients target their dysfunctional thinking patterns and identify the nature of depression. Most importantly, out of therapy sessions, patients could learn coping strategies and mood regulation skills.

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3. Building a strong support network:

Building a strong and loving relationship could fortify both you and your partner against the withering effects of depression. Healthy relationships maintain individuals’ life in balance, strengthen self-esteem, and lead to overall high life satisfaction.

Looking to cope with depression? Wellness Tree Counseling offers a wide range of effective treatment for depression. Contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation if you or your loved one would like to speak with one of our Psychotherapists.


About Wellness Tree Counseling...

Our mission at Wellness Tree Counseling is to promote wellness through a culturally sensitive lens so that individuals, families and communities are encouraged to rise to their full potential and engage life in meaningful ways.

Our vision is to provide the BIPOC community with comprehensive holistic care that empowers and equips them with skills to work toward improved mental health and well-being. We take great pride in treating the whole-person.

At Wellness Tree Counseling, we value treating our clients and community with C.A.R.E. (Compassion, Affirming, Respect, & Empathy).

To learn more about our services, please visit

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