Comments on
6 Things That Can Worsen Depression

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

6 Things That Can Worsen DepressionThere are many articles about things you can do to improve your depression. But what about staying away from those things that can make it worse?

“There are many things a person who lives with depression needs to be mindful of for better well-being,” according to Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the valuable book Living with Depression.

Below, she shared six triggers that can exacerbate depression — and what you can do to minimize or cope with them.

20 Comments to
6 Things That Can Worsen Depression

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  1. Dear Margarita,
    Thanks for this interesting article. It is really hard for people, especially those who don’t respond well to medication, to cope with depression. Stress reduction is always a good idea–I like the suggestion to write down your worries to get them out of your mind and body.
    As for avoiding toxic people-yes, absolutely, but also learning how not to isolate. It’s not always that easy to find the good people to hang out with especially if you have social anxiety. That’s where therapy groups and treatment programs can be very helpful.
    Thanks again for writing about depression from such a thoughtful and interesting perspective.
    Best wishes, Phyllis Klein

    • Depression is anger turned inward. When we feel that we don’t have the right to empower ourselves against that which causes stress, disappointment, and other external sources, we often take it out on ourselves.If we can learn that what other people think doesn’t really matter in the over all picture, and when we can learn to let go of our own inner ego, and begin to appreciate the natural wonders of the world around us, depression will slip away on the warm breeze of a beautiful day.I used to suffer a great deal of depression and lack of self worth because of the way I was treated as a child. There is no external source that is healthy that will allow you to find a release from depression…learning to “let go” of what is causing the symptoms, and realize that you are unique…there is no one else like you, and no one has the right to encroach on your mind and make you feel miserable will help you come to grips with the ‘defeatest’ attitude that seems to be at the root of depression.

      • Sorry but my experience with depression is “different” than yours. There is no simple cure or approach for help. If releasing “anger turned inward” and “letting go” were the answer I’d wouldn’t be writing this.

      • Glad you feel better, my experience was similiar. The way kids are trained to view themselves can lead to depression, along with poor methods of punishment (spanking). This also ties in the the toxic people point up there. My parents did a horrible job allowing me to be myself or feel comfortable in my own skin. I know the healthiest thing for me is to not speak to them, but every once in awhile, I weaken and call them up. There is always an emotional hangover coming around the corner.

      • Menmac

        I find it extremely frustrating to read posts like yours. Yes, a depressed mood can be attributed to anger, bad childhood experiences etc.. However, CLINICAL depression is chemical, environmental and experiential. That is why many people with depression are successfully treated with medication. Many people find that they can cope with all the other stuff in their lives when medication brings them back to “normal.” Starting medication changed my life dramatically. I am also in therapy because I think that helps me.

        The attitude your espousing is uneducated with regard to depression.

  2. smoke some weed. depressed becomes happy, anxiety becomes carefree and you will want to do something fun which in turn will make you more happy and have less anxiety. weed+laughter= best medicine

  3. and im not some high teenager i have struggled with depression since a kid and will never take anything a doctor gives me to make me happy EVER AGAIN. swed -its the simplest easiest cure with the least negative side effects

    • Marijuana can worsen depression when you spend all your money on an addiction and have no money left over for food. My friend is struggling with an addiction she can’t afford. Be careful!

    • Pot has been around since Jesus’s time and I bet anything he smoked it too! Maybe it was a pot leaf of her Adam and Eve and not a fig leaf.
      I was on Xanax and anti depressants, have been hospitalized for suicide attempts (one time on life support for 4 days) for over dosing on the heart meds, Xanax and booze. I was addicted and wanted to die from all the pain i have been in. I found pot and got off all the meds and now I have more of a life. Pot is a miracle plant IMHO. The problem with it is I have to use it about every 2 or 3 hours to elevate the pain.
      The feds need to get with the program on this one. It is silly to stop people from using it. It is safer then any pharmaceutical around. I think they see that they cannot make any money on it so they keep it illegal.

  4. Having lived many years with depression in my household – my husband deals with chronic depression, ADHD, and panic/anxiety disorder – I appreciate these thoughts on handling issues that can trigger depression. I would add that it’s very important for each individual, as well as his or her loved ones, to be aware of triggers that specifically apply to them. Depression presents uniquely in each person. For example, in my household we have to very carefully plan certain stressful chores such as bill paying or paperwork for days when it’s sunny (dark days lead to dark moods around here) and we try to follow such tasks with pleeasant, positive acitivities. Though my husband realizes these activities create problems for him, he needs me to remind him, help him plan, and get him over the gloom that can result. For both our sakes (I don’t want to live with his depression any more than he does) it’s worth any effort I might make.

    • Dear A.Viets,
      Your husband is really blessed that you love and support him so much. I suffer from depression and it means so much to me when my husband helps me. So many spouses don’t understand, let alone help their loved one avoid triggers. Just wanted to encourage you to keep it up!

  5. i know that ‘why?’ isnt as important as ‘what to do’ but i read that the malfunction of the thymus before it atrophies around the start of pubescence (i guess i’m talking males here) affects the sense of wellbeing, OKness etc often attributed to a lack of ‘bonding’ with appropriate mother-figure at babyhood. hence the name ‘dysthymia’. i’m not a pie-in-the-skyist. it just made so much sense when i read it but i can’t find any other scientific basis to verify this. i think a professional should comment

  6. Just be content of what you have and accept that each one of us is unique and can never be the same, then you don’t have to worry what other people think about each other and you don’t have to live with their expectations. The problem comes when you expect to become somebody when you are not. Frustration then depression come because of unfulfilled dreams and expectations. Just relax and learn to accept in season or out of season.

    Personally, when I set aside my unfulfilled dreams and frustrations, I began to learn not to worry so much about them.

  7. The worst thing that can be done is avoiding the issue and not trying to help yourself. Depression affects different people in different ways, so there isn’t one set solution even so much as a cure. But the best way to improve is to at least acknowledge that there is a problem.

  8. It’s very hard to help yourself trying to avoid toxic people and the stress they cause, when that person is your spouse. It’s very debilitating & exhausting trying to ‘deal’ with this person. So the only thing I do is shutdown & ‘hide’.

  9. I spiralled into a depression and my partner did not understand and could not support me. I could not even tell him about my trigger date as I new he would not understand and tell me not to think about past trauma. I felt invalidated with his dismissive attitude to depression and I left the relationship behind me. My depression is there for a reason, it takes me to a place that helps me look at issues in my life that i am not addressing. Then i deal with it and feel better again.

    • I’ve had depression ever since I was a teenage. I’ve been married now for 11 years, I’ve had my fourth child, who is 2 now but I haven’t been able to shake this depression I normally get after having a baby.
      The most toxic person in my life is my husband. He is Mr negative, he’s unsupportive and doesn’t believe a person can have depression. When I have good days, afew words from him (even untentionally) and put me straight back into to sadness.
      My husband went on holiday for afew weeks to see some relatives. I was much happier without him, because I was happier I was spending more time doing activities and talking to my kids and in return the household had a more positive energy.
      When my husband returned, my depression returned also. We need someone or is supportive and understanding and someone that you know will be there for you. More importantly someone that you can talk to, that would I think stop you feeling lonely.

      Sorry got abit long winded, I was reading the section on divorce before I read the bit about depression.
      It’s a shame that after 11 years of marriage and 4 kids, a divorce seems the only way to live a happier life (so unsure about what to do).

      • isha i read abt ur problems so every gal after marriage they suffering more problems.. u have cum out n slove ur problems special ur husband is negative guy once u cn go near the sycharits hospital den cn give treatment to ur husband n become a gud life

  10. i friends dont worries abt problems just close ur eyes and ask 2 ur heart den can give solution.. we only create the problem why you have to slove it be koool always live happy and think it positive

  11. Does anybody else feel like avoiding toxic people is just about impossible? I mean, what percentage of people out there are truly not unpleasant to be around? and forget about the people in my personal life. I have cut out toxic people in the past and I can’t say I’m happier for it. I’m very lonely…is that supposed ti make me happy? after I left my husband I moved in with my parents but they made me even more unhappy. I tried scraping by on my own but it that was horrible too. I tried meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones but they weren’t interested in the close kind of friendship I was looking for because they had their families. And at my job (after being laid off and still make about 20% what I used to) – it’s non stop angry clients abusing my co-workers and I every day and if I defend myself, I can count on mot having a job for long. Now I’m back with my ex who is gone most of the year and I feel like it’s the best I can do. Please spare me the judgement, I am a full grown educated adult. I just think this is as good as it can get. Seriously, avoid toxic people? Isn’t that what I’m doing on my days off when I can’t get out of bed but to eat a whole packet of whole grain tortilla wraps?

    • Joy–yes. I agree. I wrote that I don;t like the label of toxic people but I also wrote that if we cut people out b/c we can’t “deal” with them, we lose people as well. I lost friends when I told them I was depressed. It was just impossible for them to see me that way. They can’t handle seeing me vulnerable and in need. Are they toxic? no. And frankly, I wish I never said anything.

      My favorite name is joy

  12. I have a couple of things to add. I hope my comments are not redundant–I can’t read all of these posts!!

    1. Physical pain exacerbates depression. When I was in pain and depressed, those around me really noticed. I could not hide it. When my pain was treated, I became a different person. I was still depressed but my body no longer felt weighed down. I lost weight because I was able to exercise. I felt happier because the exercise created endorphines. It’s been years and my physical pain is back in many may ways. It has made me more depressed than ever. I can’t do anything and that repels people–even more that one’s mood. I can’t yet find a solution. I am aggravated by all the “advice” I get about pain relief. If it’s out there, I have tried it or I am unable to try it. Geez, can;t anyone just say “hey that must suck, I am very sorry you feel that way.”??

    2. I don;t like the use of the word “toxic people.” I think it is a buzz word and people use it to describe anything that they don’t like about a person. Let’s face it: we are depressed. Depression is not fun, attractive or interesting. If people respond negatively, it’s likely they are under educated about depression or they are depressed them selves. For me, I have always been ashamed of my depression. It took me from competent, attractive and exciting to indigent, ugly and incompetent. I can not expect people to want that around them

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