Daily Stress Can Cause Depression

23 August, 2020
Daily stress can cause depression, so learning to relax and build a healthy lifestyle is highly advisable. It's also important to be aware of the symptoms, since they often go unnoticed.

Stress and depression might seem to be two mutually exclusive conditions. While the first is associated with nervousness, the second is related to passivity. However, daily stress can cause depression, just as depression causes stress.

Why can daily stress cause depression? In general terms, we can say that both conditions represent an inadequate response to problems, challenges, and setbacks. This causes concern and worry and, at the same time, frustration and reluctance.

Both problems are very characteristic of the last century and are due to the lifestyles society has imposed on us. Excessive stimuli, frenetic pace of activities, increased emotional isolation. The important thing is to know that stress can cause depression and to take steps to avoid it.

Daily stress

Stress by itself isn’t a problem, as long as you keep it at moderate levels. This emotional response allows a person to be more alert and better defend themselves in situations that involve challenge or risk. However, if you experience it continuously, or at very high levels, it becomes a problem.

When stress is triggered, the body responds with increased cortisol production. Likewise, your body increases another hormone and neurotransmitter called adrenaline. A side effect of this is that the body reacts faster and stronger to stimuli.

Stress can become a frequent sensation when a person learns to classify certain stimuli that aren’t as dangerous. For example, being late for work, finishing an assignment, or even leaving the house. In this way, stress becomes continuous and the body is constantly overworked.

Woman in office in front of laptop facing daily stress.
Work is a source of stress for many people who suffer it day to day.

Keep reading: Tips to Manage Postpartum Depression and Stress

Daily stress can cause depression

Daily stress can cause depression because maintaining a state of alertness for long periods disrupts normal physiological functions. This can affect your mood and cause depressive states.

Both disorders are often related and, in fact, are very similar in several of their symptoms. We should note that not all depression originates from stress, but stress does increase the risk of becoming depressed.

Stress is exhausting and overwhelming, which can lead to difficulties such as decreased productivity, poorer job performance, problems with interpersonal relationships, and eating or sleeping disorders.

Your daily routine starts to look challenging or very frustrating. All this, together, leads to a feeling of personal inadequacy, accompanied by sadness and a lack of motivation. At that point you’re already in the approaching depression, which can have different levels of severity.

How to detect the problem

Stressed woman leaning on desk with head between her hands with several people showing her different things.
Paying attention to initial signs of stress and depression will allow you to take preventive action.

Since daily stress can cause depression, just as depression is can cause stress, the most important thing is to be attentive to the early signs to take the appropriate measures in time.

There are several telltale symptoms, such as the following:

  • Constant tension: This a feeling that life is overwhelming and pressing, like being in constant struggle.
  • Irritability: You get angry frequently and small things upset you more than they normally would.
  • Crying for no reason: You feel like crying without there being a specific reason for it.
  • Little enthusiasm for life: You feel disinterest and apathy for life itself. Your projects don’t arouse enthusiasm and you have the feeling of living by inertia.
  • Isolation and self-loathing: You avoid contact with others, especially close or intimate contact. You start making severe self-criticism.
  • Cognitive problems: Attention, concentration, speed, and mental acuity decrease.
  • Indecision: Strong doubts appear around almost everything, and you have great difficulty making decisions.

Find out more: An Anxiety Disorder? How to Spot and Address It

Stress and depression affect you physically

When you have stress and depression, there are also physical signs that reveal it. The main symptom is a feeling of permanent fatigue, which doesn’t dissipate even after sleeping. In fact, sleep problems, such as insomnia or interrupted sleep, are very common.

Eating problems are another revealing point, either because you eat too little or too much. Both stress and depression are risk factors for developing addictions. It’s not unusual, either, for a person in this condition to neglect their personal hygiene.

So if you find that your life is heading towards persistent stress or depression that causes symptoms on a daily basis, set up a consultation with a health professional. Perhaps, with small changes in lifestyle and professional advice, you’ll be able to reverse the process before it becomes severe.

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  • Montejo, A. P. (2001). Evaluación del desempeño laboral. Gestión, 2(9).
  • Herrero, J., & Musitu, G. (1998). Apoyo social, estrés y depresión: un análisis causal del efecto supresor. Revista de Psicología Social, 13(2), 195-203.