Depression is a mood disorder that affects more than 14 million Americans each year, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. It is characterized by sadness, loss of interest in regular activities and despair. Many people with depression withdraw from others; this withdrawal can take several different forms. It is important to be aware of the signs of withdrawal found in depression. A variety of treatments are available and people who seem depressed should be encouraged to seek help.
The depressed person may withdraw emotionally from family members. This may include intimate partner, children, parents, siblings or other household members. He may appear sad and withdrawn but avoid talking about his problems. It is common for the depressed person to not show an interest in his loved one's achievements or defeats. He may lose interest in sex and other forms of shared intimacy. If encouraged to speak or spend time with loved ones, he may retreat to bed or become irritable.
Social withdrawal is also common in depression. This may involve formal attendance at meetings or informal gatherings of friends. A depressed person may quit attending the once-pleasurable activities such as a weekly movie with friends. This loss of interest may seem gradual or abrupt. This is often because the depression can make conversation and public speaking feel like too much of an effort. The National Alliance on Mental Health explains that this can deplete energy reserves, making the individual feel fatigued. The thought of getting dressed and going out can also seem overwhelming in the midst of depression.
The person suffering from depression may withdraw from colleagues, coworkers and authority figures. She may be present at work but quit contributing to any conversation beyond the minimal requirements to keep her job. A once-gregarious or outspoken person may suddenly sit quietly during meetings, unable to make any meaningful contribution to the project at hand. This often occurs due to the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness found in depressed individuals. It can be exacerbated by an inability to concentrate or create new ideas. In severe depression, the sufferer may stop going to work altogether, preferring to spend the day in bed.
- “Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: Concepts of Care in Evidence-Based Practice;” Mary C. Townsend, M.N., A.P.R.N; 2006
- HelpGuide.org: Understanding Depression
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: Statistics on Depression