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How Depression Can Affect Your Relationships

Dr. Laura Tanzini

Those who suffer from depression know that it can impact every aspect of your life, including your physical health, your professional life, and your personal dealings with others. In many instances, the effects of depression result in negative outcomes that can inhibit your quality of life and further fuel feelings of isolation and abandonment. Communication issues are the hallmark of both chronic depression and strained relationships, and such problems feed into one another in a spiraling symbiosis. Many of the most pronounced impacts of depressions can affect your personal life, particularly your relationships with others, whether romantic or platonic.

In the context of romantic relationships, depression can create a cycle that many find difficult to break without the help of professionals at a residential depression treatment center in Florida. Depression can lead to negative dynamics in your relationships, and the ensuing problems with your relationship can lead to deepening depression. However, there are many depression treatment centers that can help you manage your depression and restore the most valued relationships in your life. Keep reading to learn a few of the ways that chronic depression can adversely impact your relationships.

Acting Out

While there is a wide range of behaviors can fall into this category, there are a few outward manifestations of depression that can hurt relationships. Many men, and some women, who find themselves dealing with depression will channel their feelings into other outward facing activities such as heavy alcohol consumption, violence toward others, or withdrawal from loved ones. When they occur, they can lead to a downward spiral of depression that feeds itself as the consequences of acting out become reality.

Emotional Avoidance

For many who deal with depression, emotions can feel like an overwhelming force that is constantly present, driving actions and requiring constant suppression. Instead of releasing emotions in a positive way, many who suffer from depression hold them in and avoid them until the pent-up frustration explodes. Conversely, others let silent resentment simmer until it begins to impact relationships with others.

Others who suffer from depression become overly deliberative and are paralyzed by over-analysis, while others look within and become unreasonably self-critical. None of these reactions are healthy in a relationship, as they can lead to severe problems in your dealings with loved ones. Suppressed emotions may lead to explosive eruptions directed at mates or family members, and withdrawal can create a cascade of effects that can negatively impact relationships such as feelings of rejection or accusations of emotional dishonesty.

Cognitive Distortion

One of the key characteristics of chronic depression is cognitive distortion, in which the sufferer of depression perceives situations in a way that doesn’t parallel reality. Depression can twist reality in the mind of the beholder. In terms of relationships, someone who suffers from depression may see a relationship as hopeless and doomed to fail even when it isn’t. Or, it can lead a depressed person to unjustifiably feel as though their partner is shunning them, rejecting them, or being unfaithful. Because depression can manipulate your thoughts, you may make snap decisions about your relationship that are detrimental, or you may fail to take needed steps to repair your relationships because you’ve simply deemed it hopeless.

Diminished Libido

Another commonly reported way that depression can impact your personal relationships is through diminished desire for physical contact with your partner. The majority of people who suffer from depression report diminished sex drive, though the causes of that situation within the context of chronic depression can vary widely. Poor libido can be caused by feelings of shame, body image issues caused by cognitive distortion, hidden resentment of a spouse, or the chronic exhaustion that often accompanies depression. No matter the cause, few romantic relationships can weather prolonged periods of diminished sex drive, as physical contact is a critical component in a healthy relationship.

Fortunately, help can be found that can help you preserve your relationships and break the cycle of depression while minimizing its impact on your personal life. To learn more about the impact that chronic depression can have on relationships, visit our women’s depression treatment center page.