How Depression is related to stress?

How Depression is related to stress?
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 03-04-2024

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Stress and depression by and large impact and compound each other s belongings, as they are firmly related. Stress can prompt depression as well as go about as a reason for it. Sensations of defenselessness, sadness, and weariness can result from individuals encountering delayed or extreme pressure, which can be brought about by inward factors like pessimistic contemplations and feelings or outside factors like work, connections, or monetary strain. These individuals might observe that their survival techniques are overpowered. Depression side effects might emerge or increase because of this continuous stress response.

Then again, as depression changes mental and emotional processes, it can likewise make an individual more defenseless against stress. Individuals who are discouraged may have contorted convictions about what their identity is and how the world functions, which makes them more delicate to stress and finds it hard to manage everyday troubles. Likewise, it may be more hard to appropriately oversee pressure because of the physical and profound sluggishness that much of the time goes with wretchedness, which leads into an endless loop of disagreeable encounters and sentiments. Moreover, there might be similitudes between the neurobiological systems supporting wretchedness and the physiological changes connected to pressure, like dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and imbalance characteristics in synapses like serotonin and dopamine. This infers that pressure and sorrow interface intently on both a mental and natural level.

What is the relationship between chronic stress and depression?

Depression and persistent stress are firmly related, with depression as often as possible coming about because of and went before by constant stress. Long-term openness to stressors that surpasses an individual s ability for adapting brings about ongoing pressure, which is characterized as a supported initiation of the body s pressure reaction instruments. Ongoing stress can compound or start depression side effects in various ways, including the accompanying:

  • Neurobiological Alterations: Delayed stress can cause the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to become dysregulated, which keeps stress chemicals like cortisol raised for a lengthy time frame. Hormonal changes can possibly affect the design and capability of the mind, especially the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which are significant in temperament guidelines. This could prompt an expanded weakness to depression.
  • Neurotransmitter Imbalance: Ongoing stress can cause irregular characteristics in the cerebrum s synapse frameworks, particularly those that are engaged with temperament guidelines, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Depression might be created because of imbalanced nature in specific synapses.
  • Inflammatory Response: Extended stress can cause the body to react with low-grade chronic inflammation, which can have an impact on mental and cognitive health. Depression and inflammation have been related, and persistent stress-induced inflammation could exacerbate depressed symptoms.
  • Cognitive and Emotional Factors: Negative cognitive patterns, such self-criticism, pessimism, and rumination, are typical characteristics of depression. Chronic stress may exacerbate these patterns. Long-term stress exposure can also weaken psychological stores and resilience, which increases a person s susceptibility to depression symptoms.
  • Behavioral Alterations: Prolonged stress can result in maladaptive coping mechanisms such avoidance, social withdrawal, substance misuse, and irregular sleeping patterns. These mechanisms can intensify depressive symptoms and extend the illness over time. 

On the other hand, depression itself can possibly draw out long term stress through various techniques, for example, diminished energy and inspiration, a lessening in critical thinking abilities, and aggravations in friendly and expert working. Persistent pressure and sadness are once in a while exacerbated by proceeding with stresses that are connected with the side effects of wretchedness, like conjugal issues, educational or proficient deterrents, or monetary trouble.

Generally , there is a confounded and bidirectional connection among depression and constant stress, with every illness influencing and disturbing the other through several conduct, mental, and physiological systems. To forestall and fix depression, tending to constant stress is basic. Intercessions that plan to diminish stress openness and increment stress versatility might be valuable for mental and actual wellbeing.

Impact of depression on stress and vice versa
Stress and depression effects are two emotional well-being issues that habitually exist together. They lay out an endless loop in which it is trying to break free since one might deteriorate the other. Depression can affect stress as well as the other way around in various spaces, including behavior, mental, and physiological ones. Here is a more intensive gander at their complex relationship:

Depression s Impact on Stress:

  • Increased Sensitivity to Stressors: People who are depressed may react more strongly to stressors and perceive them as more serious or dangerous than they actually are. Because of this hypersensitivity, everyday difficulties may cause higher stress levels.
  • Impaired Coping Mechanisms: Depression can make it more challenging for an individual to think about stressors, which can prompt the reception of undesirable coping techniques like substance misuse, evasion, or rumination. At the point when under stress, this can escalate sensations of defenselessness and overpower.
  • Interference with Problem-Solving Skills: People who suffer from depression may find it more difficult to confront and deal with stressors in their lives due to symptoms like cognitive impairment, decreased concentration, and negative thought patterns.
  • Physiological Dysregulation: Depression is connected to changes in the stress reaction frameworks of the body, for example, irregularities in synapse capability and dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) pivot. These physiological adjustments might escalate the body s reaction to stress and assist gloom side effects with dragging out.

Stress s Impact on Depression:

  • Depression Episode Progression and Symptom Exacerbation: Stressful life altering situations or long term stress openness could make depression episodes start prior or deteriorate previous side effects. This is particularly valid for people who have a natural, hereditary, or mental inclination to depression.
  • Inflammatory Response: It has been seen that depression is related with the safe framework and fiery pathways in the body being enacted by stress. Expanded poor quality aggravation brought about by constant stress exposure might be a pointer in the neurobiological alterations related with depression.
  • Dysregulation of Neurotransmitter Systems: Stress has been connected to the pathophysiology of misery by impeding the mind s synapse frameworks, which incorporate norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These synapse irregular characteristics might have an impact in the beginning or deteriorating of depression side effects.
  • Disruption of Social Support Networks: Stress has been connected to the pathophysiology of misery by impeding the mind s synapse frameworks, which incorporate norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These synapse irregular characteristics might have an impact in the beginning or deteriorating of depression side effects.
  • Psychological Vulnerability: Drawn out or extreme stress could make individuals more powerless to discouragement by empowering cynicism, self-analysis, and rumination, among other negative thought processes. The rise and determination of depression side effects are to a great extent reliant upon these mental factors.

Stress and depression have a complicated, reciprocal interaction in which several physiological, psychological, and environmental elements interact to influence and reinforce one another. Promoting mental health and wellbeing requires a holistic approach to stress and depression. A combination of psychotherapy, medication, stress-reduction strategies, social support, and lifestyle adjustments catered to the needs of the individual may be used in this.

Signs of stress depression
Since stress and depression frequently coexist and influence one another, they may exhibit some similar signs and symptoms. The following symptoms could point to a combination of depression and stress:

  • Chronic sadness or depressive mood
  • Loss of Happiness or Desire
  • Exhaustion or Lack of Energy
  • Modifications to Sleep Habits
  • Appetite Shifts or Difficulties Gaining Weight
  • Concentrating or making decisions 
  • Feelings of Shame or Unworthiness
  • Physical Symptoms 
  • Easily anxious or restless
  • Social Disengagement
  • Increased Substance Abuse 
  • Suicidal Behavior or Thoughts 

Important distinctions to take into consideration:

  • Duration and Intensity: Compared to depression symptoms, stress symptoms usually have a shorter half-life and are less severe. Depression symptoms can seriously disrupt everyday living and usually last for at least two weeks.
  • Cause: While depression can happen for reasons unknown beyond one s reach, stress is habitually welcomed by a specific situation or event.
  • Positive Emotions: While the individuals who are discouraged may find it hard to feel cheerful or happy by any means, the people who are under stress might in any case periodically feel delight or satisfaction.

Cause of stress and depression
There are several possible causes of stress and depression, and their interactions are frequently complex. The following are some typical factors that may have an influence in the development of depression and stress:

The causes for Stress:

  • Life Events: Significant life transitions, such as losing a job, moving, having difficulties in a relationship, or losing a loved one, can be quite stressful.
  • Chronic Daily Hassles: Regular difficulties such as traffic congestion, money troubles, or deadline pressures may build up and lead to chronic stress.
  • Personality traits: Individuals who tend to think in a negative way are perfectionists, or have a strong desire for control are more prone to stress.
  • Absence of Social Support: Stress can be diminished by having a powerful friendly encouraging group of people. Stress could have a more noteworthy adverse consequence on the off chance that a solitary feels or doesn t have close connections.
  • Health Issues: Suffering from long-term problems or discomfort can be severely stressful.

The causes for Depression:
Brain Chemistry: It is accepted that depression is brought about by uneven characters in cerebrum synthetic compounds like dopamine and serotonin.

  • Genetics: the probability of depression is expanded assuming depression runs in your loved ones. In any case, heredity doesn t decide fate, and many individuals experience depression even without a trace of a history of the family.
  • Medical diseases: Depression may be deteriorated by some medical issues, such as thyroid issues or persistent pain.
  • Substance Abuse: Alcohol and drugs may change the chemistry of the brain and can lead to depressive symptoms.
  • Life Events: Much like stress, significant life changes or painful experiences may trigger depression in various people.

Additional Causes for both depression and stress:

  • Early Life Experiences: Neglect or trauma experienced as a child can make you more susceptible to stress and depression in later life.
  • Personality Traits: Some personality characteristics, such as neuroticism or negativity, might increase the likelihood of depression, much like stress does.
  • Lack of Sleep: Prolonged sleep issues might exacerbate depressive and stressful symptoms.

Depression and stress can interact in a complicated way. Severe stress can lead to depression, and depression can increase your susceptibility to stress. The reasons behind depression or stress can differ widely throughout individuals. Although there is no one "cure" for any illness, there are effective therapies that can be used.

Symptoms of depression and how it differs from normal sadness.
Depression is an extreme psychological maladjustment set apart by getting through trouble and negativity along with a deficiency of interest in or happiness from once-charming exercises. Although incidental sadness or low mood is normal, depression is portrayed by additional extreme and industrious side effects that genuinely decrease working and personal satisfaction. The fundamental indications of depression and how they vary from typical sadness are as per the following:

  • Severity and Duration: Although periodic sadness is a normal part of life, depression is characterized by more severe and persistent symptoms that affect everyday functioning and persist for a considerable amount of time—usually two weeks or longer.
  • Impairment in Functioning: While normal sorrow usually does not result in a severe impairment, depression frequently interferes with relationships, job, school, and daily activities.
  • Lack of pleasure: While those experiencing normal sadness may still find some joy or pleasure in activities, those suffering from depression often experience a persistent lack of interest or pleasure in the things they once enjoyed.
  • Physical Symptoms: Aside from the usual sadness, depression can cause physical symptoms such desire changes, sleep difficulties, exhaustion, and psychomotor agitation or retardation.
  • Associated Thoughts and Behaviors: Suicidal thoughts or actions, which are not characteristic of ordinary sadness, as well as judgmental or guilty feelings are all possible in those suffering from depression.

What s the difference between stress and depression?
Although both stress and depression have become common mental health challenges, they differ in their characteristics and effects. Key distinctions between depression and stress include the following:

Duration and Level of Intensity:
: The symptoms of stress are usually mild and brief. They could develop as a result of a certain incident or circumstance and go away as it gets resolved.
Depression: The symptoms of depression are more severe and persistent. They seriously disrupt everyday life and persist for at least two weeks. 

: Clearly visible external factors, such a work deadline, money troubles, or a significant life transition, are often the cause of stress.
Depression: There might be no conspicuous outer cause for depression. Not exclusively can significant life altering situations and continuous stress play a part, however it can likewise show up all of a sudden because of mind science or hereditary qualities.

Emotional Symptoms:
: Typical symptoms of stress include feeling overburdened, nervous, agitated, or tense. You may feel erratic in your mood or find it hard to focus.
Depression: Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and continuous sadness. Anhedonia, or the loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities, and social disengagement are also prevalent.

Physical Symptoms:
: Symptoms of stress include headaches, stomachaches, tense muscles, exhaustion, and abnormal sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or staying up late). 
Depression: These symptoms are similar to those of stress, but they are more severe and persistent in the case of depression. It s also possible to experience unexplained aches and pains and changes in appetite, such as eating significantly more or less. 

Positive Emotions:
: Even in the absence of the stressor, people who are under stress may experience happy or joyous moments.
Depression: Individuals who are depressed may have anhedonia, or difficulty feeling pleasure at all. Feelings of happiness could seem weak or fleeting.

Impact on Daily Functioning:
: Stress can affect how effectively one performs at work, pays attention, sleeps, and builds relationships, among other areas of functioning. But these effects are usually transient, going away as soon as the stressor is removed or things get better.
Depression: Depression can have a significant negative influence on a number of aspects of life, such as relationships, employment, education, and self-care. It frequently results in a major impairment in functioning, making it difficult to carry out daily activities, maintain relationships, and take part in pleasant ones.

Method of Treatment:
: It is frequently possible to control stress and lessen its effects by using stress management techniques like mindfulness, relaxation exercises, time management, and problem-solving abilities.
Depression: In general, depression requires a more all-encompassing approach to treatment, involving antidepressant medication, psychotherapy (such cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy), depression counseling and lifestyle changes.

The goal of treatment is to support long-term recovery by treating the underlying biological and psychological causes that contribute to depression.

How Chronic Stress Can Trigger Depression
Depression can be fundamentally set off by persistent stress through several biologically, mental, and social factors. The following is an outline of the manners in which that depression can be brought about by continuous stress:

Biological Impact:

  • Stress Hormones:.Long term stress causes the arrival of cortisol and different chemicals. Synapses that are fundamental for temperament tweak, like dopamine and serotonin, can be delivered less successfully when cortisol levels are raised. Depression side effects like weakness, bitterness, and loss of satisfaction are completely connected with a diminishing in these synapses
  • Brain Modifications: Long term stress can cause the hippocampus, a region of the brain which is vital for mood and memory, to shrink. An individual’s capacity to handle stress and susceptibility to depression could be negatively impacted by this and can lead to decrease in stress.

Behavioral Changes:

  • Social Withdrawal: Stress overload can cause social disengagement, which separates you from your network of support. Depression risk factors include social isolation, which supports the vicious cycle.
  • Unhealthy Coping techniques: Substance addiction and ignoring self-care are two examples of unhealthy coping techniques used by people who are experiencing chronic stress. These actions can exacerbate depression and weaken mood.

Psychological Impact:

  • Negative Thought Patterns: Persistent stress can result in learned helplessness (the belief that you have little control over your situation) and rumination, which is the dwelling on unfavorable ideas. These tendencies have the potential to exacerbate depressive symptoms such as hopelessness and worthlessness.
  • Emotional Exhaustion: Prolonged stress can cause emotional exhaustion, which makes it challenging to effectively manage unpleasant emotions. Because of this vulnerability, you may be more prone to experiencing overwhelm and depression.

Drawn out stress can fundamentally affect the body and brain, making one more helpless to depression. It s basic to recognize the advance notice signs of progressing stress and to look for suitable help and treatments to forestall or oversee burdensome side effects successfully. Stress the board methodologies, drug, treatment, and way of life changes can be generally exceptionally powerful in treating persistent depression and bringing down the possibility of creating despondency.

Recognizing the Signs of Stress-Induced Depression
Early identification and effective management of depression caused by stress depend on the ability to recognize its symptoms. The following are some typical signs to be aware of:

  • Intense and Constant Sadness
  • Diminished Interest, Anger, and Frustration
  • Self-talk regarded as negative
  • Low motivation
  • Modifications in Sleep
  • Alteration in Appetite
  • Tiredness and Deficit in Energy
  • Pains and Aches in the Body
  • Social Disengagement
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Increased Dependency on Unhealthy Coping Strategies
  • Thoughts of committing suicide

It s fundamental to find support from an emotional well-being proficient in the event that you or somebody you know experiences two-weeks or a greater amount of large numbers of these side effects. Treatment, medicine, way of life changes, and stress the executives practices can be generally compelling medicines for wretchedness welcomed on by stress. A more excellent life and more noteworthy outcomes can result from early intercession.

Proven Tips to Manage Stress and Depression
Although long-term depression and stress can feel like a heavy load, you can manage them and enhance your mental health by taking certain actions. The following are important tips for handling stress and depression:

Stress Reduction Techniques: To lower stress levels and encourage relaxation, try deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation. These methods may relieve mental stress and reduce depressive and stress symptoms.

Regular Exercise: Physical activity on a regular basis can help reduce the symptoms of depression and stress. Exercise improves sleep quality, boosts energy levels, and enhances general wellbeing by releasing endorphins, which are naturally occurring mood boosters.

Good Eating Practices: Keep a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and other nutrients. Try rid of processed, high-sugar meals and coffee, as these can have negative impacts on your energy and mood.

Establish Realistic Goals: Divide work into smaller, achievable objectives and rank them in order of significance. Reducing overwhelm and increasing a sense of success can be achieved by setting reasonable goals and making small steps toward them.

Set Boundaries: When you re feeling overburdened, learn to say no to new obligations or tasks. In order to regulate stress and avoid burnout, it s essential to establish boundaries and prioritize self-care.

Social support: Maintaining connections with family, friends, and support groups is essential. A solid support system can provide the emotional, practical, and sense of community that are necessary for stress and depression management.

Self-compassion and Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness and self-compassion to develop self-awareness and to stay in the present moment. Be gentle and compassionate to yourself, and face any negative self-talk or unreasonable expectations.

Seek Professional Assistance: Seek assistance from a mental health professional if symptoms of stress and depression do not go away despite attempts at self-care. There are various Best Psychiatrists in India available who help to improve the quality of life. Interpersonal therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are two types of treatment that can provide useful techniques for addressing depression and stress. 

Medication: In certain situations, especially for moderate-to-severe forms of depression, medication may be administered to treat symptoms. When used in combination with therapy, antidepressants can help restore the neurotransmitter balance in the brain and relax symptoms.

Healthy Lifestyle Practices: Prioritize getting enough sleep a priority, aim for seven to nine hours each night, and establish a regular sleep schedule. Minimize alcohol intake and stay away from recreational drugs since they might exacerbate depressive symptoms and make treatment unsuccessful.

Importance of Seeking Professional Help For Stress and Depression
Stress and depression are widespread issues that can significantly impact your daily life. While there are self-help strategies you can employ, seeking professional help is a crucial step towards effective management and long-term well-being. Here s why:

Detailed Diagnosis: A professional who specializes in mental health can distinguish between stress, depression, and other possible co-occurring disorders to make an accurate diagnosis. This guarantees you get the best possible treatment plan.

Personalized Assistance: There isn t a single strategy that works for everyone. A therapist will create a plan for treatment that is unique to your requirements and preferences. This could involve medication, therapeutic methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or a mix of the two.

Creating Efficient Coping Mechanisms: A therapist can help you develop constructive coping mechanisms that can help you reduce stress, enhance emotional control, and increase your resilience. With these tools, you ll be able to handle difficult situations with confidence.

Safe and Confidential Environment: Therapy offers a private, judgment-free space for people to explore their feelings, ideas, and experiences. Mental health providers provide a safe, understanding space for people to express themselves honestly while addressing difficult feelings.

Monitoring development: Throughout treatment, mental health specialists keep an eye on patients development and modify interventions as necessary to ensure the best possible results. Frequent therapy sessions provide an opportunity to talk about difficulties, monitor the improvement of symptoms, and create new coping mechanisms to deal with persistent stressors.

Crisis Intervention: To ensure people s safety during times of crisis or extreme suffering, mental health professionals can provide immediate support and treatment. When necessary, they may provide suitable connections to emergency agencies, provide crisis counseling, and evaluate the level of risk.

Holistic Approach: Mental health providers treat clients holistically, addressing not just the external signs and symptoms of stress and depression but also their underlying causes and aggravating factors. They take into account elements that could affect a person s mental health and well-being on a biological, psychological, social, and environmental level.

Long-Term Support: Getting professional assistance for stress and depression gives people access to sustained support and direction as they strive to recover and maintain their mental health. Mental health practitioners can assist people in establishing long-term mental health by providing coping mechanisms, relapse prevention methods, and support systems.

All things taken into account, getting professional assistance for depression and stress is crucial for an accurate diagnosis, individualized care, evidence-based therapies, and continued support. Professionals in mental health are essential in helping people recover, building resilience, and enhancing overall quality of life.


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