This blog post will give us insights into the question, “Can love cure depression?” We will see what happens when we believe love can cure depression. Then, we will outline the ways love can aid in the recovery from depression. Lastly, we will see how love positively affects our psychological well-being and why love is not enough.
Can Love Cure Depression?
No, love cannot cure depression. Love indeed entails many great benefits for mental and physical health, but curing depression is not one of them. When we fall in love, there is a surge of euphoria equivalent to that derived from cocaine.
There are various feel-good hormones released, such as dopamine, adrenaline, vasopressin, and oxytocin. These hormones bring about bodily changes.
Dopamine is the hormone that activates the pleasure pathways and produces euphoric effects. Adrenaline causes your heart to race and pumps you up – feelings that are commonly experienced when in love. Oxytocin intensifies feelings of attachment, relaxation, protection, and satisfaction. Vasopressin is associated with behaviors that promote lasting exclusive relationships.
Love can even ease physical pain, where severe pain is known to be reduced by 15 percent and pain of moderate-intensity by 40 percent.
Although it may be challenging to see someone we dearly love to suffer from depression, we cannot love their depression away.
What Happens When You Think Love Can Cure Depression
When you believe something like love can cure depression, you may end up doing some harm to yourself and to your loved one who is suffering from this condition:
- You may hold yourself excessively responsible for your loved one’s recovery. You may feel like you need to love them more to help them heal;
- Sometimes, your desire to cure your loved one’s depression may pervade many of your relationship issues. Most often, people ask questions like, “If my loved one recovers from depression, will they love me again?”
- Sometimes, the relationship in itself could be a source of stress, which impacts one’s depression. Even though it is incredibly challenging to come to terms with, people end relationships because it helps them recover and develop as individuals.
- When you see your love is ineffective in helping your loved one deal with their depression, you may start resenting yourself and might become disheartened. You might develop a sense of unworthiness for your inability to cure their depression with your love.
- You may have a thought process like, “if my loved one loved me as they claimed to, they would not be suffering from depression, as love cures depression.” You need to remind yourself that seemingly contradictory feelings can exist. A person can be depressed and love other people. What is affected by depression is one’s ability to express their emotions, including love.
Can Love Aid in the Recovery from Depression?
Yes, love can aid in the recovery of our loved one’s depression. You can express your affection, concern, and love in a way that helps your loved one. Here are a few things you can do to convey your love to them:
- Be patient;
- Listen empathetically;
- Suggest ways you can help them;
- Do not take it personally if they are unresponsive to your efforts;
- Help them around the house;
- Reassure them;
- Physical affection;
- It is okay not to be okay; and
- Practice kind gestures
You must be patient with them, more so when they are dealing with a particularly rough phase. Know that your loved one, when suffering from depression, is doing the best, even if they get easily frustrated. Reassure them during these times that you love and care for them.
Moreover, keep in mind that they trust and love you if they share their problems and issues. Their healing process can take time, effort, patience, and work.
Listen to them when they talk without trying to “fix” their issues. They sometimes just want somebody to lend them an ear. Being empathetic and supportive is the best you can do at that moment for someone who is depressed.
Trying to solve their problems and offer advice could worsen their symptoms. They may start viewing themselves as a failure for their inability to be happy when it seems to come naturally for others around them.
Suggest ways you can help them
When you ask them if you can do something for them, they will probably say no as they find it challenging to reach out. So, suggest ways to help them, like grabbing something for them from the store or helping them with some chore.
Do not take it personally if they are unresponsive to your efforts
When you reach out, and they withdraw from you, understand that they are going through struggling times. They do not intentionally shun people from their lives. When you are depressed, there are incredibly low self-esteem levels and feelings of unworthiness. These symptoms disallow them from being able to connect with others.
Help them around the house
When people are depressed, they find it challenging to engage in everyday activities, including managing the house. Do their laundry, cook something, or help with their dishes.
Remind them of how amazing they are. Tell your loved one of their strengths, accomplishments, and all the things they have done to help others.
Show them you are there for them through physical affection, such as holding their hand, hugging them, or merely sitting next to them. Warmth, comfort, and physical intimacy are known to help ease depressive symptoms.
It is okay not to be okay
Let them know it is okay not to be okay. Depression could make people unable to engage in necessary activities like eating, working, or socialize. Reassuring them that it is OK and understandable to be this way to help make them feel less incapable.
Practice kind gestures
Any small gesture that expresses kindness and care can go a long way. Buying them flowers or their favorite food, cooking for them, or even writing a letter can boost their moods and restore some of their self-worth.
How Love Positively Affects Psychological Wellbeing
In the book A General Theory of Love, the authors describe how the nervous system is interlinked. The limbic system is heavily influenced by people close to us, which is known as limbic resonance. It synchronizes with them by what is called limbic regulation, which affects our mental well-being and personality.
Love can help you cope with stress, which consequently protects you from developing mental health conditions. Through his work on attachment, John Bowlby has implicated the positive effects of secure and stable relationships on the ability to adapt and cope.
One report shows the positive impact of getting and staying married on reducing depressive symptoms.
Moreover, one of the standard treatments for depression – interpersonal therapy (IPT), focuses on establishing and maintaining stable relationships. Further, emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is also used to treat depression and anxiety by ensuring existing relationships provide safety, support, and connectedness.
Therefore, although love cannot cure depression and other psychological conditions, it does have several benefits for maintaining our mental health.
Love Alone Is Not Enough
Love in itself is not enough to cure depression. You must remember that to help someone recover from depression, apart from unconditional love, they need help from professionals.
People with depression have several negative beliefs and thoughts about themselves and the world around them. You need to convey to them that their depression does not determine their identity. They need to know that they are loved, supported, and accepted. Show them that you are there for them even when things get complicated.
Apart from unconditional support, professional help is the most important thing someone with depression needs. They need to get timely and appropriate treatment. Remember that you are not their therapist, and no matter your intentions, you can end up doing more harm than good. Do not give them a false sense of hope.
Do not attempt to fix their issues for them. Allow them to do it while always reminding them, verbally and through gestures, that you are there for them, and they do not have to go through anything alone.
Many people wonder whether or not there is a cure for depression.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
This blog allowed us to answer the question, “Can love cure depression?” We understood what happens when you think love can cure depression and outlined how love can help in the recovery from depression. Lastly, we saw how love positively affects our psychological well-being and why love is not enough.
Frequently Asked Questions: Can Love Cure Depression?
Can love treat anxiety?
Love cannot treat anxiety, but it can help a person with anxiety. Unconditional love and support that come from stable relationships can help reduce stress and ease specific anxiety symptoms.
What role does love play in mental wellness?
Any type of love – romantic, parental, or otherwise, fosters adaptive behaviors and reduces stress and the susceptibility of developing any mental health condition.
Can love be a psychological problem?
Researchers have examined the brain scans of people in love and found that there are similarities to the brains of people with drug addictions or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD
Can you lose romantic feelings for somebody?
Yes, you can lose romantic feelings for somebody. Those feelings may not last forever, and coming to terms with it is crucial for stable relationships.
Are there downsides to being in love?
Love may have specific downsides depending on the nature of the relationship, including:
Addiction to love;
Changes in sleep and eating habits;
What signs indicate mental illness?
There are several signs indicative of a mental illness that you need to be on the lookout for, such as:
Prolonged periods of sadness;
Extreme changes in sleeping and eating patterns;
Intense anxiety, worry, or fear
What are the advantages of love?
Love provides many benefits, such as:
Lowered blood pressure;
Relieving physical pain;
Cardiovascular benefits; and
Does being in love have an effect on sleep?
Yes, being in love has an effect on sleep. It has been reported that adolescents who are intensely in love lose sleep compared to those not in love. The former is said to lose an hour’s worth of sleep.
What leads to obsessive love?
People without full-time employment, having a first-degree relative with a psychological problem, specifically delusional disorder, are susceptible to developing obsessive love. Such type of love typically entails violence.
What is the reason for making love?
There are several reasons for making love, including:
Physical reasons like pleasure, fulfilling sexual curiosity, and reducing stress;
Emotional reasons such as love, gratitude, and commitment;
Other reasons like improving social status and procreation
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.