When a person experiences a traumatic or stressful event, it can lead to symptoms of depression. Going through a romantic breakup can be stressful and upsetting, and it may trigger the onset of depression.

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can negatively affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Symptoms can include feeling low, loss of interest, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

Following a breakup, an individual may experience some or all of these symptoms of depression. If the symptoms are persistent, it is best to speak with a healthcare or mental health professional.

In this article, we will discuss how to deal with depression after a breakup, symptoms to look out for, and more

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For a person to receive a diagnosis of depression, symptoms must be present for at least 2 weeks.

If a person has gone through a breakup and has any of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more, they may be experiencing depression.

Common symptoms of depression after a breakup include:

  • feeling low, sad, or anxious the majority or all of the time
  • feeling irritable, short-tempered, or restless
  • having difficulty sleeping
  • feeling hungry all of the time or having a lack of appetite
  • feeling tired or lethargic even after plenty of sleep
  • experiencing digestive issues, aches and pains in the body, or headaches
  • experiencing feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • having suicidal thoughts

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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An older 2014 study suggests that stressful life events can lead to the onset of depression.

The breakup of a romantic relationship can be a very stressful and upsetting life event. Studies suggest that people who have recently experienced a breakup are more likely to have symptoms of depression than people who are in a relationship.

Research suggests that women are more likely to experience depression after a breakup than men.

There can be similarities between adjusting after a breakup and depression. These similarities include intense sadness and lack of interest in usual activities. However, feelings of sadness are not the same as clinical depression. Depression interferes with everyday functioning, and symptoms have to last for at least 2 weeks before a person can receive a diagnosis.

When adjusting after a breakup, feelings of sadness may fluctuate and come in waves. These feelings of sadness typically weave with positive memories of the past relationship. With depression after a breakup, feelings of sadness and a lack of interest occur for the majority of the time.

When adjusting after a breakup, a person typically maintains their self-esteem. When a person experiences depression after a breakup, they will typically experience feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing.

Learn how to regain lost self-confidence.

If a person does not receive treatment for depression after a breakup, it can have serious effects. The most serious is an increase in the risk of death due to suicide.

Not receiving treatment for depression after a breakup can lead to episodes of depression that last for longer periods of time. It can also increase the risk of depression recurring.

There are several treatments for depression after a breakup. These may help reduce symptoms and shorten the amount of time symptoms persist. A healthcare or mental health professional may recommend a combination of treatments, such as:

A person can help cope with their symptoms of depression after a breakup by taking part in pastimes they enjoy. Other activities that may help a person cope with depression include:

The following are some questions people frequently ask about depression after a breakup.

How do breakups affect people with depression?

If a person already has depression, going through a breakup may trigger another episode or temporarily worsen symptoms. A person with depression may also find it more difficult to cope with a breakup and may need extra support.

Read more about depression relapse.

How do you deal with a breakup when you already have depression?

If a person already has depression, they may need extra support while going through a breakup. A person should stick to their treatment plan and speak with their healthcare or mental health professional if they have any concerns.

It is best to focus on practicing self-care and taking part in activities a person enjoys that typically help their symptoms of depression.

A romantic breakup can be a stressful and upsetting event that may cause a person to feel intense sadness for a period of time.

However, if a person experiences symptoms such as intense sadness, withdrawal from pleasurable activities, a change in appetite, and trouble sleeping for at least 2 weeks following a breakup, this may be a sign of depression.

There are several treatment options available for depression after a breakup, including therapy and antidepressant medications.

A person can also help their symptoms by taking part in activities they enjoy, getting out into nature, practicing self-care, exercising, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep.