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Thursday, April 23, 2009 rotciv, Community Member, asks

Q: why is depression worse in the morning? and does it get better ?

why is depression worse in the morning and does get better

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Answers (3)
Jerry Kennard, Health Pro
4/25/09 11:27am

It's a perfectly good question. There may be several reasons why depression feels worse in the morning. The first relates to your pattern of sleep the previous night. Many people with depression have sleep disturbances and when they do sleep, their pattern of REM and dreaming can be different to non-depressed people.


However, depression isn't always worse in the morning. Some people feel worse in the evening and others say their moods are low but consistent.


I think if low mood or depression is an issue in the morning there is little doubt that thought processes will play a significant role. Depression is exhausting anyway, and the thought of another day with all that it may involve is something that even non-depressed people find effortful.

Professor, Community Member
5/ 8/09 2:14pm

I disagree. Morning depression may have nothing to do with "thoughts of another day". I have experienced morning depression for over 15 years and it is the lack of desire/motivation or interest in stepping out of bed. In addition, there is a "dearth" of energy at awakening, and many depressed people want to paint the town red in the evening! Reasons that include sleeping patterns, REM, hormones, chemicals or a biological unevenness of feelings in the morning make more sense than fear of the day. Still, there appears to be no silver bullet and mornings will continue to be drudgery...until the coffee and the shower which speeds up your metabolism.

Galaxy, Community Member
10/ 7/09 7:49pm
I agree with the last respondant. Although thoughts can make things worse, the dreda of the day aheda sia symptom of having depression, nit a trigger for it, thoigh can become a viscious cycle. Anyone who has come out of depression will know that when not depressed this dread of the day ahed just goes or is nit there to the same degree or accom pabied by lasck of motovation and anxiety. Depression is a biological condition, worsened by circumstances not , bt often Not brought on by them, otherwise, we would all have it far more often. I agree that research shows negative thought patterns built up over years can have an impact on the brain chemistry, stress hormones etc which in turn can put theother brain chemicals out of kilter, or is it that the faulty brain chemistry makes one tend to think in and process things through a negative lense ? I think it ecomes a viscious cycle at some point. There is evidence that we can fool the brain by faking smiling or laughing when we feel unlike it, just faking it, but we will still produce brain chemicals that increase feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. Some times we have to fake it to make as the saying goes, though I am not suggesting we should deny our feelings or not talk about them. suppressing them would probably be equally as stressful and result in tension and bukld up of stress hotrmones, so I suppose it is a matter of balance, but still endeavoiuring to find the posistives in each day even in little things even if that Joy is just a cup of hot tea to feel grateful for, small comforts. I is very hard when the brain and thoughts will not allow even such awareness and easioer said than done with really deep depressions that may come on out of the blue. IT retrospect there were probably signs of a lowering of mood and it is at that time that it is best ton take early action and employ self help tools, enlist support, seek out a good friend or helpline or support group to talk to, or counsellor theough they can take many weeks from referral in my exeperience, examine your nutrition and incaresas exercise bfore the mood lowers further. Cath it early is the secret if at all possible, whcih I believe it can be in many cases, though I apprecaite not all. Then perhaps we rely on those around us more to seek out this help and nourish us, if we are lucky enough not to be isolated. If alone, just calling into a day centte where there is company and a cooked meal can help provide some structure to the day or a library where there is a sense of people around in a quiet calm environment.THere are so many little things we can do to help ourselves when depression is coming on or strikes, and always inform your doctor. That in itself can feel like you are taking some steps, some control, even if they do nothing you can call in to see them once a week or fortnight and they can assess how thinsg are moving along and recommend further help earlier rather than later. My biggest mistake in the past has been to not seek help early. THe first time often cathes us out as we deny it or feel it will just go away, or we should be able to cope, or we try to hide it or area afreaid of external things like work falling apart. I think real depression is very frightening when very first depressed if it is moderate or severe and has passed that milder lower grade form which many more of us have just about coped with . and that feels distressing enough at the time, but there is a real difference with moderate to severe types which is not known until experienced. If you are still going out and about or to work and still talking to others and eating , sleeping somewhat with difficulty, even if all interest and energy is still slipping away bit by bit, or energy is low, feeling drained, flu like, washed our rung out and prone to tears or crying easily at the drop of a hat, or feeling tearful, then it is generally Mild depression , though it will probably not be perceived or felt that way subjectively you may feel like shit, but you are still at a functional level. This can change quite quickly in some though. Once more physical and more pronounced anxiety symptoms creep in rather than just tendency for worries and tension and mild anxiety, then depression is likely to be moving towards a moderate stage which may need different treatment , and is much harder to hide to others or deny ro oneself, or to have the ability to sruggle on with at wotk or home. Most people would need some form of help at this stage, counselling. medication or both, and an action plan, or it is atleast preferable. Those who are alone may try to self medicate distessing symptoms with drugs or alcohol ( especailly if they do not know what is going on, are reluctant to seek professional help or admit to having these feelings ) to temporarily relieve anxiety or sleep difficulty which appears to be worsening, but this of course will only add to the depression and symptoms over time and is no solution, short or long term. Severe or deeper depressions may be accompanied by either acute anxiety , agitation, pacing, fretting, virtual insomnia, a complete loss of interest and inability to cope or function with normal every day tasks, a feeling of utter indescribeable exhaution and mental pain,sometimes physical pains, due usually to the insomnia ane nervous system involvement, complete slowing down of thought processes, cognotion, memory concentration and bodily functions , possibly nausea, constipation, significantly slowed speech and movement ( Or constant pacing if agitated type ), exagerrated fears, preoccupation with troublesome or distressing negative thoughts or preoccupations and worries, possibly bur not always suicidal ideas. In some cases severe depression can, not always, become psychotic with delusions, hallucinationsm suspicion ( paranoia )creeping in. Sometimes people can reach these deeper more severe stages quite quickly if not treated so it should be take seriously. Catching all forms of depression early seems to be the best approach to prevent a worsening or prolonged depression. All stages of depression are treatable but it can take time to find what works. Never give up on HOpe of being complegtely well. I have seen it happen in the most servere and chronic , apparently resistant forms of depression. Never lose hope ! Always seek another opinion if having no success with one psychiatrist after many triasl of medication. Nevdr lose hope in yoir own ability to heal and recover. The mind is very resilient. Reply
Marcelo Ganem, Community Member
7/27/11 10:31am

Among all the stuff I have heard or read about this illnes, never foun an explanation so honest and concrete, really hopeful. Althoug sometimes it seems ridiculous to fake a smile when not up to, it can work pretty well. At least we can open doors to get in touch with others.  Exercising as well is a bliss, and can extend for good moments. Getting in touch whith ppl you like, obviously, and just trying to go outside in the way that it seems possible. 

Watch yourself. If yer loosing your will, getting too much pissed off with things that go wrong, loosing touch and simpathy, narrowing your interests.. URGE to seek a professional. 

It´s not easy to be patient, but by the time you percieve you´re really depressed, it will take time to rewire your brain, it seems you´ll have to learn a lot again. Meds to enhance quality of sleep and regulate anxiety seems to do a lot. 

I found it particulary tough to realize how many years passed and a lot of life wasted of thinking obsessively and hoplessly. Seek for help, don´t let go the moments you feel pretty well to do more, get in touch, feed with pleasure !. 

God bless !


joey, Community Member
6/14/09 2:36pm

Research Melanchlic Depression - it could possibly help


Hovis123, Community Member
12/31/09 4:32am

I also strongly disagree with Jerry Kennard's psychological hypothesis that feeling worse in the mornings is a reaction to facing up to the tribulations of the forthcoming day. Surely if this were the case, people would feel also tend to feel worse during the preceding evenings in anticipation of the following day too?


I've suffered from anxiety / depression for several years now and my "normal" mood pattern is usually to go to bed feeling well and then to feel profoundly "under par" in the early part of the mornings.


Regrettably, I feel that psychologist's like Mr. Kennard cling onto largely psychological models to explain phenomena like "morning anxiety / depression" because of the dogma of their training which say's it's all about patterns of thinking and "in the mind".


I look forward to the day when science will unpick the complex genetic and biological mechanisms underlying such mental health issues and offer real solutions. It may take a long time, but progress is slowly being made and I believe will one day offer genuine hope for the future.


anne, Community Member
7/26/11 10:19am

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By rotciv, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/06/14, First Published: 04/23/09