Does being an atheist make you depressed?

This article will discuss how being an atheist may be linked with developing depression. For that, the article will explain what being an atheist is, and what can feel like when you are depressed. Aside from that, the article will explain are ways to handle the depression that can come from being an atheist. 

Does being an atheist make you depressed?

It depends. There is a clear link between depression and religion, but it is impossible to affirm that being an atheist will cause you to be depressed. What is possible to say is that religion and spirituality are great coping mechanisms. 

Religion can help you find meaning in difficult moments in life, And also give you comfort when they happen. It is also proven that being religious can make your stress levels decrease. Those seem to be the biggest benefits of religion when discussing mental health. 

But religion may also hurt it. The strict beliefs that come from it, and the rules items to your life can be overwhelming. You may feel like you are never up to the role your religion asks of you, and this feeling of not being enough, or even being a failure can be overwhelming at times. 

This sense of fear that religion usually sets on people can cause them to isolate themselves in fear of being condemned by their peers. But when considering atheist people, it may be that they have a higher rate of depression because they may not have the social support religion gives a person.

Along with that, religion seems to give people meaning and help them make sense of their lives, which can be harder for atheist people. Especially when they are faced with traumatic events. 

When an atheist goes through them, differently than a religious person, that may have a justification for why things are happening, they can start to have doubts, and struggle to find some meaning in what is going on. 

Although it is not possible to affirm that every atheist person will handle this the same way, some of those struggles may be common to most of them. Along with that, they are often seen by society to have low morals standards, or even that they don’t follow what is expected of them. 

But even though society may have this view of them, there has been a lot of research that shows that atheist people don’t have an absence of morals, or that they don’t use it when making a judgment.

What is atheism? 

Being an atheist means you follow a line in which you don’t believe in God, or worship any deities. People that are atheists don’t believe in what is told in sacred books of religions such as the holy bible. 

But even though they don’t believe in God, they still can have faith in other forms of a higher power that impact how people live their lives. It can be that they believe in energy, the universe, or many other things. 

People usually become atheists after they have studied religion and that starts to point out that there is a lack of evidence of the existence of God. They can also consider that the religious institution is an unnecessary social construct.

Along with that, people can become atheists because they don’t feel that evil, sin, and hell are not appropriate approaches to living a life based on fear. Others may feel like science brings them a lot more answers than religion ever did. Or they may be followers of people and world leaders who criticize religions such as Karl Marx. 

What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness condition that can cause a person to experience intense sadness. Not only that, it can make them have a negative view of the world. It can make them feel empty, without any energy, and as if they lose their purpose in life. Along with that, it can make them lose interest in things they used to love.

Depression can alter your self-esteem, making it go low, and also harm your sense of self-worth. It can also make it difficult for you to focus, and affect your eating and sleeping pattern. 

Even though people can manifest depression differently, they can also become more irritable, isolated, guilty, and ashamed. People with depression can feel like there is no hope in their life, and the future, and because of that they may consider self-harm, and develop thoughts of death, and suicidal thoughts. 

How can I handle the depression from being an atheist? 

Although being an atheist can be overwhelming at times, and that can harm your mental health, know that there are some things you can do to make yourself feel better. 

Firstly you can try to understand that it is okay to be different and stand out. People can have different belief systems, and this doesn’t have to mean you are less than anyone. You can build your life and your belief system as you identify it is best, and develop as you see fit.

Don’t try to answer what people expect of you. This goes to being an atheist, but also to depression. Many might not understand what you are feeling or going through. 

Know who’s an opinion you can listen to, and who you can share with. It can be that there is a friend or family member that is open to listening to you, even if they have different beliefs. But if you feel like it is impossible to share with the people that are around you, you may want to find yourself in another group.

It can be a support group for people that are atheists or even look for an atheist mentor. Being understood by others will be a great relief when dealing with depression. It can make you feel like you belong, as well as it might boost your confidence.

Being part of a community with people that are also atheists, and having a mentor, will also allow you to discuss it, understand what led other people to become atheists, and learn more about it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Does being an atheist make you depressed?

Does believing in God make me less depressed? 

Believing in God or having a spiritual side can be a good coping mechanism for dealing with depression and many other negative events in life. It is also said that people that have such beliefs have a lower chance of getting depressed.

So even though it is not possible to affirm that believing in God will cure your depression, or make it impossible for you to develop the condition, having those beliefs can help you cope with what is going on in your life.

Is depression a sin? 

According to some interpretations of the bible, one may consider depression is a sin. To others, depression may be the result of a sinful action. The problem with this line of thought is that it leads people to believe that depression can be a choice, something that people can avoid.

And even though that is not a belief of everyone in the Christian religion, such thought is also present in other religions. With that thought in mind, you can make the depressed person’s condition even worse. And abstain from offering them the support they need.

Is depression a choice? 

No, depression is not a choice. And saying that for people that are going through it is extremely disrespectful. It implies that a person is depressed because they want to and that they can get out of this situation by just wishing so.

This line of thought doesn’t take into consideration that depression is a scientifically proven mental health condition. That does not only affect the person’s mood, but also the way their brain functions. 

Many changes in hormones and neurotransmitter levels alter the person’s perception of the world, and themselves.

Expecting people with depression to just snap out of it can in reality make them worse. They may start to feel more guilty and ashamed, and feel even more worthless than depression already makes them feel.

All of that can even lead them to consider extreme behaviors like harming themselves or even having suicidal thoughts.

That is why understanding that they didn’t choose this is so important. If you know someone that is depressed, let them know they can count on you. You should know that the solution doesn’t lay only in talking to a loved one. Recovering from depression is a long and complex road. 

But having people that are open to understanding how you feel, or even that are just willing to listen to you, can give them an enormous sense of relief in such troubling times.

Can believing in God cure me of depression? 

Believing in God is not a sure way for one to get out of being depressed. What is known is that having a religious or spiritual background is a good way for coping with depression. Having one of those may allow you to find some sense in what is going on with you.

Along with that, it may also be something that comforts you in your troubling times. But believing in God is not something you can just choose to do. It is something that comes from within, and also may be related to your background. But it is something you can develop in life. 

So if you feel it is something that interests you, you can look to learn more about it, and maybe when going through depression, it is something that can give you some comfort.

What are the causes of depression?

Depression can happen due to a few reasons. It can be that the person has a genetic predisposition to it. This means that if they had cases of it in their family, they might have a higher chance of developing depression. Women also have a higher chance of getting depressed than men.

Along with that, depression can happen because you are experiencing some form of chemical imbalance in your brain. Or even because you are going through a traumatic situation. You can get depressed during the traumatic event, or even a while after it is over. 

A traumatic event can be the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship. Going through financial, or even legal problems are also matters that can lead someone to depression.


The article showed the link between being an atheist and getting depressed. For that, the article showed what atheism is, and what depression is. Not only that, the article showed ways to deal with the depression that is caused by being an atheist.

If you have any questions or comments about the article, feel free to write them in the section below.


Atheism and Depression (The link)

10 facts about atheists

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