How Does Clinical Depression Affect the People Around You?

Updated February 21, 2017

Clinical depression may manifest itself as sadness. It is often described as the all-time worst case of the blues. In addition, sufferers may exhibit signs of agitation and frustration and often lose the desire to do much of anything at all. Sadly, depression doesn't only take its toll on the diagnosed patient. It can seriously affect those around the depressed person as well. Family and friends of a depressed person typically suffer, too.


Clinical depression is the number one type of mental illness in the entire world. Second only to heart disease in its disabling capabilities, it affects a sufferer's mind, body, thoughts and moods. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 17 million Americans will develop clinical depression sometime in the next year. That astounding statistic accounts for one in every 10 people.


Depression doesn't just affect the sufferer of the disease. Family members may all be affected by the depressed person's affliction. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, children and spouses tend to suffer almost as much as the depressed person, although in very different ways.


Children don't always understand what is happening with a depressed parent. A support group for children with a parent who suffers from depression will help them understand the disease and communicate with other children who are experiencing similar situations. Children of a depressed parent often become frightened. They fear they won't be loved or cared for by the depressed parent and they come to fear for their parent's safety in some situations.


Spouses often feel neglected when their significant other is clinically depressed. Since the depressed person is sometimes incapable of performing routine household duties, interact with their children and even go to work, a lot of added responsibility is put on the shoulders of the spouse. There are support groups for spouses of depressed people. Often, spouses require one-on-one therapy sessions with a therapist.

The Workforce

Depressed people sometimes fail in the working world. Unable to meet the requirements of their jobs, they become distanced from their co-workers and often wind up quitting their jobs or getting fired. These situations only cause a snowball effect for the depressed person, who then must deal with shame and financial issues.


Many friendships fail because of depression. Until a depressed person is diagnosed and properly treated for depression, they don't always confide in their friends about how they're feeling. Instead, they appear moody and agitated and often are not pleasant to be around. These signs of depression are often misinterpreted by friends as lack of interest in the friendship.

Depression Hurts

Like the television ad for a popular antidepressant states, "Depression hurts." It has become increasingly clear in recent years that it's not only the depressed person who suffers. However, new treatments are emerging frequently, and many depression sufferers emerge from their darkness to live normal, healthy and productive lives with the help of medicine and regularly scheduled therapy sessions. Some of these treatments may become necessary as well for family members or friends of the depressed person.

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About the Author

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.