Depression and relationships

Depression can negatively affect relationships. Depressed people frequently experience a lack of energy and motivation which can severely hinder their ability to function in a relationship.

People suffering from depression may withdraw from others, become irritable and closed off, or fall into a state of apathy in which they are unable to act decisively or even get out of bed in the morning.

This kind of withdrawal from others can be confusing or even hurtful to those close to them, especially if the depression is not diagnosed or understood. Often compounding the issue is the fact that some people – typically a close family member – may respond unhelpfully by telling the depressed person to “pull themselves together”, not realising that their comments only make the sufferer feel worse. Many depression sufferers also lose interest in sex, creating further problems in intimate relationships.

Understanding that a depressed person’s behaviour is the result of an illness may not make things easy, but knowing what is going on, and that the condition is treatable, can give a sense of hope.


Treating depression in a relationship

Depression can be treated, just like a physical illness. There are psychological treatments that can help to reduce negative thinking, create strategies to tackle problems and improve relationships. For some, a combination of medication and psychological treatments may work best. It is important to find an approach that works for your situation.

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one you can get help.


How to help someone close to you

If your loved one is depressed, here are some things you can do:

  • Offer your support and understanding
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Try to invite them out. They may decline at first, and you don’t want to push them. Even so, let them know that you are there for them
  • Some people with depression may be at risk of suicide. If you think they are in crisis, call OOO.


Need help? You can find support services in northern Queensland or complete a self-administered K10 test for depression and anxiety. You can also join the online social and mental health forum to talk with like-minded people.