Facebook Pixel

Stress and Depression: Are They Linked?

By HERWriter
Rate This
Stress and Depression: How Are They Linked? elnariz/Fotolia

It may be hard to believe but stress can be good for us. It forces us to stay alert and ready to react in the face of possible danger. A normal part of life, stress can come from daily annoyances to a death or loss of a job.

Many people can move past such stressful events, but for some, too much stress may lead to depression.

Depression is characterized by anxiety, persistent sadness, and loss of interest in once enjoyable activities. It also affects concentration and sleep, according to Livestrong.com.

There are two types of stress. Chronic stress lasts for an extended period of time. Acute stress is response to a traumatic event. Both types send the body's stress-response mechanism into overdrive.

Chronic stress leads to increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is called the stress hormone. Chronic stress also reduces levels of the brain’s neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Reduced dopamine levels have been linked to depression.

When our bodies are stress-free, our biological systems work normally. We sleep, eat and experience normal emotions and moods explained WebMD.com.

For some people, the body doesn’t go back to normal after a stressful event or period of time. The stress-response mechanism stays on, and can lead to depression in susceptible people.

Biology may be to blame for what happens to these susceptible people. There is "evidence showing some people have certain genetic markers that predispose depression in response to stress,” according to Dr. Ian H. Gotlib, a Stanford psychology professor, in an article published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, as reported on Livestrong.com.

Psychological issues can also play a role. People who have previously experienced depression or are currently diagnosed with depression, may be more likely to be greatly affected by stress. Additional research found that dysfunctional attitudes in daily life, feeling incredibly vulnerable, and having low self-esteem can also be a factors when linking stress to depression.

A study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland looked at stress and mental illness such as depression.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!