Understanding Separation Depression

Separation depression refers to a type of depression that can occur when a person is separated from a significant other, such as a romantic partner or spouse, family member, or close friend. This type of depression is sometimes also referred to as separation anxiety disorder or separation distress disorder. It is a common phenomenon that can impact people of all ages and can be quite challenging to manage.

Symptoms of Separation Depression

The symptoms of separation depression can vary depending on the individual experiencing them. However, some common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or lacking energy
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Feeling irritable or easily annoyed
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches or muscle pain
  • Social withdrawal and lack of interest in activities one typically enjoys

Causes of Separation Depression

Separation depression can be caused by a variety of factors, and often multiple causes contribute to the development of the condition. Some of the most common causes of separation depression include:

  • Loss or death of a loved one
  • Divorce or separation from a partner
  • Moving to a new location or being away from home for extended periods
  • Loss of a job or retirement
  • Illness or injury, either in the self or a loved one
  • Changes in routine or significant life changes, such as having a child or becoming an empty nester

Risk Factors for Separation Depression

While separation depression can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors that can increase an individual’s likelihood of experiencing it. These factors include:

  • A personal or family history of depression or anxiety
  • A lack of social support or close relationships
  • Recent major losses such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss
  • Chronic stress
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Physical or mental illnesses

Treatment for Separation Depression

Treatment for separation depression typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care strategies. Some of the most common treatments for separation depression include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) โ€“ This type of therapy helps individuals learn to identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to separation depression. Additionally, CBT can help people develop coping strategies for managing difficult emotions.
  • Antidepressants โ€“ Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can be effective in treating depression. However, it’s important to note that medication should always be used in combination with therapy for best results.
  • Self-care โ€“ Self-care strategies such as exercise, meditation, and healthy eating can be very helpful in managing depression symptoms. Additionally, maintaining social connections with friends and family can help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Prevention of Separation Depression

While it’s not always possible to prevent separation depression from occurring, there are many steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing the condition. These steps include:

  • Maintaining strong social connections with friends and family
  • Practicing good self-care habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep
  • Seeking professional help for chronic stress or other mental health conditions
  • Getting support for major life changes such as moving or retiring
  • Staying engaged with work, hobbies, and other meaningful activities


Separation depression is a common and challenging condition that can impact anyone. While it can be caused by a variety of factors, the good news is that it is treatable. If you or someone you know is experiencing separation depression, it’s essential to seek professional help. With proper treatment and self-care strategies, people can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


FAQs about Separation Depression

What is Separation Depression?

Separation Depression is a psychological condition that affects individuals who have gone through a separation or breakup. It is characterized by feelings of isolation, anxiety, and sadness, which can lead to a decreased ability to function in everyday life.

What are the symptoms of Separation Depression?

The symptoms of Separation Depression include anxiety, sadness, loss of appetite or overeating, insomnia, fatigue, lack of concentration, and feelings of hopelessness. If you experience any of these symptoms after a breakup, it is important to seek professional help.

How do I cope with Separation Depression?

To cope with Separation Depression, you can try talking to friends or family, joining a support group or seeking professional counselling. It is also important to take care of your physical health through exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. Finally, try to focus on the positives in your life and take it one day at a time.


1. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Loss, sadness, and depression. New York: Basic Books.

2. Parker, G., & Barrett, E. A. M. (2013). Separation anxiety disorder in adults: A review of the clinical relevance. Australasian Psychiatry, 21(4), 352-356. doi: 10.1177/1039856213490115

3. Rodriguez-Priego, M. A., & Perez-Blasco, J. (2020). Separation anxiety and depression in early adolescence: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders, 264, 142-151. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.052