People with depression frequently withdraw from social interactions, but research suggests that the risk of depression could be doubled in people with low levels of human contact.1,2 The likelihood of having depression and the severity of symptoms may increase as the frequency of human contact and social interaction decreases.2

When you’re depressed you might feel like you want to be alone.1,3 It’s sometimes good to have personal space and some alone time, but experts tell us that isolating yourself can make you feel more depressed, whereas social interaction can have a positive influence on your symptoms.2,3

Even if you don’t feel like talking, being with other people, family and friends, is still connecting with the outside world.~ Helen*

Although it might be difficult, maintaining social interactions can be an effective way of dealing with depression. The benefits of staying socially active and maintaining relationships with friends and family who know and understand you can have a positive effect.3 However, make sure that you are comfortable with the amount of social interactions undertaken.

At first it was very hard to meet people after my depression. But then I realized that I don´t have to be funny, happy or positive all the time when meeting people. I found new people who understood what I was going through at that moment in time and I also started to enjoy my time alone.~ Lauri*

People with depression frequently withdraw from human contact and social interactions1-3
Isolation can make you feel more depressed2,3
Social interactions can have a positive effect on your symptoms2,3

 

*Names changed.
 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5 ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press 2013.
  2. Teo AR, Choi H, Valenstein M. Social relationships and depression: ten-year follow-up from a nationally representative study. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e62396.
  3. Steger MF, Kashdan TB. Depression and everyday social activity, belonging, and well-being. J Couns Psychol. 2009; 56(2):289–300.