What Caused Elvis Presley’s Depression? (+3 Interesting FAQs)

In this article, we will try to understand if Elvis Presley was depressed. But first, we will look at who was Elvis Presley and how did he die. Finally, we will look at certain potential reasons why Elvis Presley was depressed. Lastly in the article, we will give a piece of brief information about depression, its signs, and symptoms, and also certain regular treatment options. 

Was Elvis Presley depressed? 

The famous singer of Can’t Help Falling in Love was known to be depressed and died of a heart attack induced by a drug overdose on August 16, 1977, in Memphis, Tennessee. We know for certain that he was depressed, but we do not have a clear picture of how he died. There are various theories about his death that we will address below. But first, let’s learn who Elvis Presley was. 

Who was Elvis Presley? 

The world-renowned American singer Elvis Presley was known as the “King of Rock and Roll”. He was a dominant rock music player until his death. He was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis is known to have brought up in a dirt poor. He then relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. His music profession started there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with music producer Sam Phillips, who needed to bring the sound of African-American music to a more extensive crowd. Persely also debuted in movies in 1956. His debut movie was known as Love Me Tender. 

With his ascent from destitution to huge notoriety, Presley’s prosperity appeared to exemplify the American Dream. He is the smash hit solo music artist ever and was industrially effective in numerous classifications, including pop, nation, R&B, grown-up contemporary, and gospel. He won three Grammy Awards, gotten the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been drafted into various music corridors of distinction. Presley holds a few records; the most RIAA guaranteed gold and platinum collections, the most collections outlined on the Billboard 200, and the most number-one collections by an independent craftsman on the UK Albums Chart and the most number-one singles by any follow up on the UK Singles Chart. In 2018, Presley was after death granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

How did he die? 

The death of the infamous artist was sudden and life shocking. He died suddenly at the age of 42  on August 16, 1977, in Memphis, Tennessee. Initially, it was announced that he died due to a heart attack, which was then rectified to a drug overdose. Presley was known to take drugs regularly every day. To our very shock, his ex-wife, Priscilla Presley says that Elvis knew what he was doing. She implies that Elvis was extremely depressed and took his own life. 

Priscilla believed that his drug abuse was the result of his station in Germany by the US Army. he has prescribed the drugs that helped the soldiers stay awake. In fact, she believes that her ex-husband took her own life. In the documentary, she states that He knew what he was doing. This was also substantiated by the suicide letter that was found after his death. 

The king of rock and roll mentioned in his letters that he was depressed and tired of life, and therefore needed a long rest, indicating suicide. 

In addition to his ex-wife, his stepbrother David Stanely also believes that he died due to suicide. Elvis demanded that every day he receive 3 separate doses of drugs that he called “attacks.” Each “attack” contained a dangerous combination of pills or shots of Valium, Nembutal, Demerol, Quaalude, and Seconal. David Stanley says the first “attack” was usually given between 2 and 3 a.m. 

Many believe that Elvis did not take his own life, however, with the evidence and information given by David Stanely, it is sure that he might have committed suicide. 

Stanely witnessed his decline. The last time Stanely met Elvis he told him that he loves him and hugged him. He said “I’ll never, ever see you again. The next time you see me, it’ll be in a higher place and a different plane.”

Stanley believes that the day Persely died was different. The day he dies, he was given the 3 attack envelopes, but he did not touch them at all. Later that morning around 9.30, he was found dead, when Stanley saw that all the three envelopes were empty. This means that Persley actually knew what he was doing. He took all the 3 attacks together, leading to a drug overdose. 

On the other hand his doctor, Dr. Kevin Merigian believed that he dies because of an irregular heartbeat. He says that even though there are theories about drug abuse, it is not seen in his blood. He was firm that he dies due to a cardiac issue. 

What actually happened is unknown to the world and will remain unknown too. However, what is clear is that he did not die of a mere heart attack, but involved the usage of hard drugs. 

Why was Elvis Presley depressed? 

The main question is why was Elvis Persely Depressed. It is believed that there are a few main reasons why he was depressed. 

Firstly, Persely was known to have struggled in his childhood, due to poverty. In addition, he also lost his mother. Losing a parent is never easy at any given age. Even though he was given some time off to grieve, it might not have been enough. It is very important to deal with the loss of loved ones rightly. otherwise, it might impact negatively the person’s mental health. 

In addition to this, his admission in the army was when he started with drugs. The army is not easy. A person is left with a great sense of responsibility. As an artist, he might have not found himself fit in the army. This is where he started with his drug abuse. 

In addition to this, his stepbrother believes that the combination of high times on stage and complete isolation at home might have taken a toll on his mental health. Besides,  drug abuse, affairs, and his absence led to his divorce from Priscilla Presley. This divorce also led to a huge setback in his life. 

After he returned from the army, he started his career as an entertainer again. He believed he would work in movies and create hits. But life had different plans for him. He was frustrated by lightweight movie roles and overwhelmed by the endless demands of his fans. He was extremely unhappy with his movie career. 

Some also believe that most of the time after he would record with his band, changes were made without his acknowledgment. 

All of these factors added together led to the downfall of his mental health and lead to depression, which was then manifested as a substance abuse disorder and later as suicide. 

Signs of depression 

Depression is one of the best known and well studied mental health disorder. It has been existing in the world for a long time and a great number of people have been its prey. In fact, today, depression is one of the most common and serious mental health conditions. Not to our surprise, we can see that depression takes a toll on any individual irrespective of gender, sex, money race, or fame. Great and famous singers like Elvis Presley also was depressed due to various reasons. 

However, depression is seen differently in different people as well as the causes of depression vary from one person to another. The causes of depression are usually a combination of biological, social, and psychological factors. 

Even though the symptoms of depression vary from one person to the other, there are a few symptoms that a similar and can be seen in all. They are as follows: 

  • Constant sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities  also known as anhedonia
  • Decreases or increased appetite 
  • Sleep disturbances like Insomnia. 
  • Irritability and agitation 
  • Constant fatigue 
  • Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Suicidal Thoughts 

If left untreated, depression is usually known to escalate to suicide and drug abuse, both seen in the case of Elvis Presley. In addition, there are physical side effects of leaving depression untreated. The most common of these are cardiovascular issues and strokes. This can also be linked to Elvis’s case. 

Elvis did not ever get any help from his depression. This led him to abuse hard drugs every day, as explained above in the article. This also resulted in him taking his own life as suspected. Even if we believe that he might have not taken his own life, untreated depression leads to cardiac complications and we know that Elvis dies due to an irregular heartbeat.

Therefore, what we learn from the King of rock and Roll is that it is always better to have things that might not be under your control to be treated. 

Depression is a treatable disorder. With the combination of medications and psychological therapies, it is possible that depression can be completely eliminated. 

Medication for the treatment of disorders inlcude antidepressants such as specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), atypical antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). 

Psychological therapies include psychotherapies which are talk therapies that usually include Dialteical Behavioral therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. They also include Electoconclsuive Therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. However, talk therapies are used preferably to the rest, because of their side effects and ethical concerns. 


In this article, we have tried to understand if Elvis Presley was depressed. But first, we have looked at who was Elvis Presley and how did he die. Finally, we have looked at certain potential reasons why Elvis Presley was depressed. Lastly in the article, we have given a piece of brief information about depression, its signs, and symptoms, and also certain regular treatment options. 

FAQs: Elvis Presley depression

Who can be depressed? 

Depression can happen to anyone and everyone. Depression does not differentiate between race, gender, or sex. In fact, it is based on our resilience and power if we can fight depression. Therefore depression can happen to the small kid as well as to an old man. It can happen to a beggar as we all as to the wealthiest man on the planet earth. 

Was Elvis Presley obese? 

It is believed that when Elvis Presley was depressed and on his death bed he was also fighting obesity. As a result of his depression and drug abuse, it is quite possible that he might have put a great amount of weight. 

What are his greatest hits? 

“Mystery Train” Photo : Michael Ochs Archives/Getty. …
“Kentucky Rain” Photo : Michael Ochs Archives/Getty. …
“An American Trilogy” Photo : Michael Ochs Archives/Getty. …
“Heartbreak Hotel” Photo : Michael Ochs Archives/Getty. …
“Love Me Tender” …
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” …
“Jailhouse Rock” …
“In the Ghetto”





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