Disability does lead to depression

A while ago I posted a blog on Disability and Depression.

Here is an article from The Recovery Ranch that outlines reasons how becoming disabled does lead to depression.

I am going to quote it here. Then, in my next blog will break down the points from my perspective.



There are several reasons why becoming disabled can make an individual vulnerable to depression. The disability – a loss in and of itself – leads to other painful losses as well, which is a common theme in each of the following:

Loss of a life direction or purpose – Many individuals work hard to achieve a certain career goal. Acquiring a disability that no longer allows you to work at that job has a significant impact on your direction in life and may also impact your sense of purpose. For example, an airline pilot whose vision becomes seriously impaired is no longer able to fly. Such a devastating loss can easily open the door for depression, particularly if that was the only career he or she had ever wanted.

The painful loss of a sense of purpose affects many disabled individuals who were formerly the primary breadwinner in the home. When you’re no longer able to provide for your family, it’s not unusual to develop the lingering helplessness or frustration that leads to depression. Feelings of worthlessness, another common symptom of depression, can begin to take a firm grip.

Decrease in self-esteem – Becoming disabled affects how you perceive and feel about yourself, as well as your place in society. A study of individuals with traumatic brain injury revealed they had lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of depression than healthy individuals. Some disabled individuals lack confidence in their ability to control their body and manage their life adequately. The loss of autonomy can take a severe toll on self-esteem.

Sadness, anger or frustration over career loss or changes – A disability prevents you from doing your previous job, but it isn’t always serious enough to keep you out of the workforce entirely. Feeling forced to take a job that isn’t as challenging, fulfilling, prestigious or well-paying can elicit negative feelings such as sadness, anger, frustration or resentment. For example, a heart surgeon unable to operate because of a serious hand injury is still able to teach medical students.  However, he or she may regard that as less fulfilling than saving lives. A teaching position also isn’t going to pay nearly as much, which means the former surgeon may have to make substantial lifestyle changes.

Struggle of living with a disability – Quality of life often decreases after a significant injury or illness, especially when it limits the ability to perform normal daily activities. A serious brain injury, for instance, requires a person to relearn any number of tasks, from how to speak to how to button a shirt. In some cases, he or she simply isn’t able to relearn important functions. Likewise, a disability such as vision loss completely changes how someone lives. A newly blind person must learn how to navigate a dark world, losing at least some independence in the process.

Feeling bored – Some disabilities leave a person housebound, with few opportunities to interact with others. You may find yourself at home alone all day while your spouse is at work or confined to an assisted living center where community activities don’t match your interests. Boredom fosters negative emotions, including loneliness and frustration, which can trigger symptoms of depression.

Disability definitely raises depression risk; however, depression can also make the disability worse. For example, depression can make it more difficult for you to take proper care of your health. You are more likely to miss important appointments, such as a doctor visit or physical therapy. You may neglect to take your medications as directed. The result is a cycle in which the injury or illness triggers depression, which, in turn, makes the disabling condition worse.

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