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Is Depression Worse in the Morning?

Whether you have $10 million in the bank or are an average citizen, depression, and mental health disorders can affect you. Chemical imbalances in the brain don’t discriminate, and someone who is seemingly happy on the outside may be struggling and screaming for help inside their mind. 

Depression is a cruel form of torture because it can affect anyone, and at times, it can be debilitating. The statistics back up the claims, and depression has become widespread throughout the U.S. population. 

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), major depressive disorder affects about 17.3 million U.S. adults, which translates to nearly 7.1 percent of the total adult population. Unfortunately, women are affected more than men, and 1.9 million children ages 3 through 17 are diagnosed with depression. Adults who have a depressive disorder are at greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Women are twice as likely to develop depression than their counterparts. Postpartum mood changes can range from having the blues following childbirth, or it can turn into an episode of severe depression. It can become incapacitating and cause women to become psychotic. DBSA suggests that women who have experienced significant depression following childbirth likely had depressive episodes even though they may not have been adequately diagnosed.

If you’ve struggled with depression, you can attest to the crippling nature of the disorder. You may have been told to “snap out of it” or “think positively” by those who do not understand it. Unfortunately, mental health is commonly misunderstood, but there has been much more information published in recent years that helps paint a better picture of the issue. 

Someone who struggles may also wonder if depression is worse in the morning. Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at how depression affects individuals.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a common and severe medical illness that adversely affects how you feel, the way you think, and the way you act. While it is treatable, depression can cause an individual to feel sadness and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. The disorder can lead to various emotional and physical problems that decrease someone’s ability to function at work and at home.

It may damage relationships and cause someone to “drop out” of life. Many people with depression don’t have the strength to get out of bed, which often creates problems in their lives.

Common symptoms someone with depression may experience include:

  • Loss of interest and pleasure in activities they once enjoyed
  • Feeling sad or being in a depressed mood
  • Negative mindset
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite (weight gain or weight loss)
  • Loss of energy (increased fatigue)
  • Experiencing feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of depression must last for at least two weeks to be diagnosed. Other medical conditions have the potential to mimic the effects of depression. You must speak to a professional to determine if you are experiencing depression or if it is a medical reason. 

Is Depression Worse in the Morning?

Unfortunately, yes, the morning may be a particularly tough time for someone who has depression. If you didn’t sleep well the night before, it can make your already debilitating symptoms worse. When someone struggles with this disorder, waking up and facing a full day of decision-making can be overwhelming. For most, falling back asleep is the more desirable option. Low moods and depression felt at certain times of the day are referred to as “diurnal variation of mood.”

Symptoms of morning depression may include:

  • A significant lack of energy
  • Struggling to wake up
  • Oversleeping, which is known as hypersomnia
  • Feeling heavy
  • Feeling empty, or otherwise, feeling like your life lacks meaning
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Brain fog
  • Delayed physical functioning 
  • Obvious trouble physically getting out of your bed
  • Appetite changes
  • Physical or mental difficulty to complete simple morning tasks
  • Reduced interest in activities that you once sought out

Causes of Morning Depression

The apparent answer to this question is someone dealing with depression, but other reasons may contribute to your feeling terrible in the morning. The most common causes include:

  • Poor sleep: People who are struggling with depression might have a difficult time falling asleep every night. Whatever the cause, a lack of decent rest can contribute to feelings of depression in the morning, which will lead to brain fog, irritability, and difficulty waking up.
  • Having to face reality: Many of those battling with depression know that sleep is an escape from their reality. If you are dissatisfied with life or your circumstances, waking up for another day can make your depression spiral when you wake up.
  • Low blood sugar levels: Our blood sugar levels tend to dip overnight due to a lack of eating. Once we wake up, we require food to raise these levels and function efficiently. If you regularly skip breakfast, you’ll likely feel depressed or fail to function at a high level.

How to Cope with Morning Depression?

You must speak with an expert or medical professional who can help determine the best course of action. It may be something as simple as having something to look forward to, writing down your morning routine, and eating healthy that gets you through your day. 

For others, however, a chemical imbalance may be inhibiting them from living a healthy life. Medication may be the best course of action, but only a professional can determine your outcome.

Sources

Zeitlhofer, J., Tribl, G., & Saletu, B. (1993). Sleep disorders in neurology: hyposomnia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8442353

Wirz-Justice, A. (2008). Diurnal variation of depressive symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181887/

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

Depression Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/

Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

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