How long does relocation depression last?(A brief guide)

From the following article named, “How long does relocation depression last”  you will gather some insights on what relocation depression is and how to cope with it.

How long does relocation depression last?

There is no specific duration of depression caused due to relocation. It may take a person days, months or even years to get rid of the depression due to relocation. Usually it lasts not more than a year and a half. If you feel you are still not able to cope with your depression by yourself you should absolutely seek help. 

What is relocation depression?

When you move to a new location, away from your home, it is natural to suffer from depression caused due to culture shock, transfer trauma and fear of the unknown. Most people relocating to a new location may suffer from this kind of depression also known as relocation depression. 

What are the symptoms of relocation depression?

The symptoms of relocation depression are as follows:

Hopelessness and anhedonia

A person suffering from relocation depression may suffer from anhedonia which further gives rise to hopelessness. 

The two main types of anhedonia are social and physical anhedonia.

Social anhedonia is a disinterest towards social contact and a lack of motivation in being a part of social situations. 

Physical anhedonia is an inability to feel tactile pleasures such as eating, touching, or sex.

The symptoms of anhedonia include:

  • social withdrawal
  • a lack of relationships or withdrawal from previous relationships
  • negative feelings toward yourself and others
  • reduced emotional abilities, including having less verbal or nonverbal expressions
  • difficulty adjusting to social situations
  • a tendency toward showing fake emotions, such as pretending you’re happy at a wedding
  • a loss of libido or a lack of interest in physical intimacy
  • persistent physical problems, such as being sick often


Social withdrawal is a common sign of relocation depression. You may not like getting up from your bed. And when you do, you’re lethargic and really don’t have the energy to get through your day. Insomnia is another symptom of depression; you’re tired all the time, but you can’t sleep. Or you can sleep–twelve hours at a stretch and you’re still tired.


There is always a fear of the unknown prevailing in you. In a new ambience you have different expectations about life. When those do not match with reality, you become anxious about those unpredictable, unknown life experiences which further leads you to become disappointed and depressed.


Researchers in one 2013 study discovered that people with depression couldn’t identify objects on a screen that were identical or similar to an object they had seen previously. According to researchers, this suggests that memory can be diminished as a result of depression. Researchers in a 2015 studyTrusted Source  came to a similar conclusion. They concluded that depression might cause short-term memory loss.

Agitation and aggression 

Agitation and aggression comes from hopelessness and lack of pleasure in any activity. If you cannot gain pleasure from your hobbies you may end up becoming frustrated and agitated. 

Finding it difficult to concentrate

Depressing may also make you so lazy and hopeless, you might not feel like working. You may not  concentrate on anything you do. You may feel home sick. 

What are the causes of relocation depression?

A study done by Martijn Hendriks, Kai Ludwigs, and Ruut Veenhoven has suggested that moving creates unhappiness among individuals in a number of ways. Relocating to a new place makes an individual lonely. If he or she is good at making friends, it becomes easier to cope with the situation. If not, the individual may feel lonely and out of place. 

The fear of the unknown can also be a reason behind someone’s depression. In a new place, the mover may be anxious about the new challenges coming their way. 

In a new place we may not be able to adjust immediately with the places’s culture, language and people. Our mind needs some time to adjust changes. In the process of adjustment one may become sad and depressed or frustrated. 

Let’s look at an interesting research 

A very intriguing study was conducted in 2016 by happiness researchers from Netherlands and Germany published in the journal Social Indicators Research on young adults( age 17 to 30) a combination of locals and migrants.  An app was used to ask them the following sets of questions on a regular basis :

  • How are you feeling?
  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?

Within  the first two weeks of the relocation, there were no signs and symptoms of changes in involvement in activities.  Study participants talked, read, shopped, worked, studied, ate, exercised and went for drinks, sometimes alone, sometimes with a partner, family, or friends.

It was observed after the first two weeks, the movers would spend less time in “active leisure” like exercise and hobbies—less time overall, in fact, on all activities outside the home/work/commute grind. Movers also spent more time on the computer than Stayers—and they liked it more.

Even though movers and stayers spent equal time with family and friends but stayers were happier and enjoyed the time spent. 

Study authors Martijn Hendriks, Kai Ludwigs, and Ruut Veenhoven posit that moving creates a perfect storm of unhappiness.

As a mover, you have a new group of friends, you are not that close to them. You don’t feel like home with them.  As a result, Movers may opt to stay home surfing the internet or texting far-away friends, even though studies have tied computer use to lower levels of happiness.

 Stages of relocation depression :

  1. Honeymoon Phase: The culture is new and exciting; their dreams and expectations about the future seem to be coming true. This is the enjoyment period. You feel hopeful with the new change. Life is a treasure trove of happiness in this period. 
  2. Rejection Phase: The realities of life (housing, employment, and family) can become overwhelming. Many things do not go according to plan, and people may feel misunderstood by those around them. Persons in the rejection and regression phases may exhibit moodiness, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, or depression.
  3. Regression Phase: In order to deal with the stressful changes, a person may only try to surround himself with people of their own culture.
  4. Recovery Phase: If a person can work through the regression phase, they may be able to accept and feel accepted by their new culture.
  5. Reverse Culture Shock: A person may become so accustomed to their new culture that they would exhibit culture shock if they returned to the home country.

It depends on the person’s personality and emotional competence which determines how long the rejection phase lasts. The phase of depression may last for a few weeks to half a year or more. If you feel you cannot recover from the rejection phase and it has been more than a year you are trying to cope but with time it’s getting worse, you should get yourself professional help. 

Wellness resources for post-move depression

If you are suffering from some degree of relocation depression you can rest easier knowing there are a large number of resources you can tap into, both physically in person and online. You’ll find there are support groups, tools, and apps all designed to help you increase your happiness and well-being. Some of these are highlighted in the sections below.

Support Groups

Support groups are an excellent resource because they bring together people with a common interest who are more likely to understand each other, and therefore be able to assist in resolving whatever issues might be troubling you. Most locations will have support groups, either in-person or online, that you can tap into. There are a number of benefits to support groups which include: Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged, reducing distress, depression, or fatigue. 

Mental health apps 

There are several mental health apps available on the internet to help you cope with your struggling time. In many cases, these apps provide free mental health support services. 

It’s true that most of these apps haven’t been peer-reviewed to support their claims, but mental health experts are still forecasting these tools are going to play an increasingly important role in the future of mental health by providing users with innovative self-management tools designed to assist with depression and a host of other mental health issues.

Leading addiction psychologist Sal Raichbach, PsyD, LCSW of the Ambrosia Treatment Center believes the mental health apps available are the future of mental health by removing the barriers to treatment to reach the most people in need. Below are four free mental health apps that could be helpful for those suffering from relocation depression:

What’s Up – This free general mental health app uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods that assist in coping with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. Available for both iOS and Android.

Happify – This app provides users with a psychologist-approved mood-training program, that is designed to deliver a good mood. It contains a number of engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more which are designed to overcome negative thoughts and to train your brain to find the positive in everyday situations. Available for both iOS and Android.

MoodTools – MoodTools was created to support people with clinical depression by aiding in their path to recovery. It includes helpful videos designed to improve your mood and behavior, as well as methods to log and analyze your thoughts using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles. Available for both iOS and Android.

MindShift – This mental health app was designed specifically for teens and young adults. MindShift uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety. Available for both iOS and Android.


From the article above, our perception of “how long does relocation depression last?” found a new horizon. We gathered useful knowledge about what happens when someone moves to a new location. We also looked at the possible solutions. 


How long is too long for sadness?

Sadness fades with time – that’s its job. Depression lasts longer however

How do I cope with anxiety after moving?

  1. Learn how to identify homesickness.
  2. Don’t give it a timeline
  3. Allow yourself to feel sad, but don’t let it define you. 
  4. Use nostalgia to your advantage. 
  5. Build a network. 
  6. Create new routines and transitions. 
  7. Get out of the house. 
  8. Stay healthy.

How do you cope with moving to a new place?

  • Research the new place. …
  • Think positive. …
  • Create and use a support system. …
  • To make new friends, be a joiner. …
  • Learn from your new contacts. …
  • Involve the kids. …
  • Don’t move alone. …
  • Start by establishing a comforting routine.

References :

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