Unemployment and Depression

Whatever the reason for becoming unemployed, leaving your job can be stressful. Recent studies indicate a high percentage of individuals will develop a depressive illness within six months of becoming unemployed. In fact, after relationship difficulties, unemployment is the most likely thing to push someone into a bad depression. This isn’t surprising, since work is often a significant source of an individual’s sense of worth and self-esteem. When you lose your job you risk going from a position of feeling in control to facing an uncertain future and suffering from an eroded sense of self-confidence--especially if it takes a long time to find another job.

Frequently, depression first shows up in physical symptoms, such as headaches, gastrointestinal distress, and sexual dysfunction. When you're suffering from depression, you and others close to you may notice some of the following changes in your overall affect:

You’re more irritable than usual and may lash out at those who try to offer help;

You’re worrying--even obsessing--about things more than usual;

You're unusually quiet and seem unable to share what's bothering you;

You're sluggish, fatigued, and lack your usual interest in things you usually enjoy.

When you’re in the throes of depression, the shift from your usual way of acting and feeling can make it harder to get another job, putting into play a cycle of defeat and despair that makes your depression deepen. Instead of getting help for their symptoms of depression, too many too frequently try to make themselves feel better by "self medicating" with alcohol or drugs. This clearly makes things worse.

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects your body, mood, and thoughts. Like any illness, depression requires treatment—the sooner the better. While it may take courage to reach out and ask for help, seeking professional treatment will bring the relief you deserve and that you need to get your life headed in a positive direction.