Major Depression and Social Isolation

Living with untreated major depression can cause many adverse psychological effects. Without support from family or friends, this mental health condition can make it especially difficult to function daily.

Major depression — also called major depressive disorder (MDD) — can make a person feel lonely. This can be problematic, especially for teens and adults. Social isolation is often a telltale sign that something is wrong with an individual. Seeking professional support can bring great relief. There are effective therapies to help individuals cope and manage the challenges associated with the condition, significantly improve their social life, and even open up new opportunities.

Brief Overview of Major Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health says that major depression is one of the most widespread mental health conditions in the U.S. This disorder can significantly affect a person’s mood and reduce interest in activities they once enjoyed. Depending on the severity of an individual’s condition, major depression can interfere with and potentially limit a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. 

As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) states, a person of any age can be diagnosed with major depression. The condition’s onset typically happens at the beginning of adulthood, though it can occur earlier. Major depression is not a temporary condition; it does not go away on its own.

Feeling sad from time to time is expected. However, when a person is depressed for most of the day every day for two weeks or more, professional help may be necessary. A person with major depression may feel down without any reason or apparent cause. This is because a chemical imbalance causes depression in the brain. 

Some risk factors for having this condition could include having an immediate family member who has also been diagnosed with the condition; experiencing one or more traumatic events; major life changes such as employment loss, high stress, the death of a loved one, or broken relationships. 

Effects of Major Depression

Major depression can affect and significantly impact how an individual perceives new information. The condition can impact a person’s thoughts and emotions, which can ultimately cause demotivation. An individual with depression who feels extreme sadness may avoid leaving their home or attending events and may even push loved ones away. 

As The Mental Health Clinician (MHC) claims, major depression affects approximately 12% of youth. Unfortunately, the condition can often go untreated and unrecognized, as symptoms can present differently in adults than in teens and adolescents. This can often result in impaired school performance or social life. An increased risk of suicidal ideation can also be associated with depression.

Researchers have worked to collect information from teachers and parents. These studies reveal that youth may present signs of depression as frequent complaints, crying, shouting, anhedonia, and extreme isolation.

Symptoms can be different for everyone of all ages. Further signs may include: 

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, pessimism, and emptiness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Lack of joy from favorite activities
  • Forgetfulness and trouble concentrating
  • Physical ailments
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or attempts

Most Effective Therapies for Major Depression

Major depression can be treated with psychotherapy, also called “talk therapy” or “counseling,” or combined with complementary prescription medications. Therapy can help individuals better manage and understand their feelings and develop emotional stability.

Visiting a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or social worker can help teens get started with an effective treatment plan. Therapy can improve an individual’s thinking by providing strategies to stay optimistic and gain a positive perspective on their life. Professional treatment can help a person feel an increased sense of confidence and self-esteem. 

Different therapies have been proven to improve major depression in teens and adults. These therapies include: 

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Improves social skills by working through troubled relationships that contribute to major depression and can change problematic behaviors and address issues that may have led to the condition
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps an individual recognize negative thoughts associated with depression, with certain strategies instilled to change negative behavioral patterns. 

Helpful Strategies

Practicing self-care outside of committing to professional treatment such as therapy can significantly improve an individual’s mental health. For example, choosing to eat healthily can greatly improve their symptoms. Physical activity may help increase the production of feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins in the brain, improving mood.

Substance use can negatively impact an individual’s mental health. It can worsen symptoms associated with depression and make the condition harder to treat. Therefore, avoiding recreational drugs and alcohol may significantly improve their mood.

Setting goals to work toward achievement can provide motivation and build confidence. Researching the condition and documenting symptoms can help an individual recognize the signs that may trigger a depressive episode. Educating family and friends can help a person with major depression acknowledge the signs and provide support as needed. 

Major depression can cause teens and adults to withdraw from socialization. This can be problematic. Social isolation is often a telltale sign of a deeper problem. Seeking professional support can relieve the symptoms associated with major depression. 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. As a licensed Joint Commission Accredited Mental Health Treatment Center, our expert clinicians and therapists help clients identify psychological problems and implement new and positive behaviors through a variety therapeutic techniques. If you or a loved one feel you need additional support, please call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876 to learn more about our recovery programs. 

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