Tips for Overcoming Depression in College Students

What Happens If Depression is Left Untreated
Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can manifest in various forms, such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of hopelessness or guilt. While it is normal for individuals to experience these emotions from time to time, depression is a more severe and long-lasting condition that requires proper treatment.
However, many people do not seek help for their depression or choose to discontinue treatment. In this blog, we will explore what happens if depression is left untreated and why seeking treatment is crucial for managing this condition.

How Can Depression Affect Your Life?

Depression can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, affecting their physical, emotional, and social well-being. Here are some ways in which untreated depression can affect a person:

Physical health: 

Depression has been linked to various physical health problems, such as chronic pain, heart disease, and diabetes. This is because depression can weaken the immune system and disrupt the body’s balance of hormones.

Mental health: 

Untreated depression can worsen over time, leading to more severe symptoms and a decreased ability to cope with daily life. It can also increase the risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or substance abuse disorders.


Individuals with untreated depression may struggle to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. The constant feelings of sadness, irritability, and low self-worth can make it challenging to communicate effectively and participate in social activities.

Work or school performance: 

Depression can affect a person’s ability to focus, concentrate, and make decisions. This can result in decreased productivity at work or school, leading to difficulties in meeting deadlines or keeping up with responsibilities.

Suicidal thoughts: 

In severe cases, untreated depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. This is why it is crucial to seek help and treatment for depression as soon as possible.

Why Do People Avoid Treatment for Depression?

There are various reasons why people may avoid seeking treatment for their depression, including:

Stigma: Despite the progress made in mental health awareness, there is still a stigma attached to seeking help for mental health issues. This can prevent individuals from admitting that they need help and seeking treatment.

Cost: Treatment for depression can be expensive, especially if it involves therapy or medication. Many people do not have access to affordable mental healthcare, which makes it difficult for them to seek treatment.

Lack of knowledge: Some individuals may not realize that they are experiencing depression or may not understand the severity of their symptoms. This can lead to a delay in seeking help, which allows the condition to worsen over time.

Untreated Depression & Its Consequences

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. When left untreated, it can have severe consequences for men and women of all ages. In the US, according to a study, last year alone, over 17 million people experienced at least one major depressive episode. This shows how prevalent and severe depression can be if left untreated.

Some of the consequences of untreated depression include:

Decline in Quality of Life:

Depression can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making it difficult to enjoy daily activities and maintain relationships. In fact, a study found that people with depression reported a lower quality of life compared to those without the condition.

Some of the ways depression can affect an individual’s quality of life include:
  • Lack of motivation: Individuals with untreated depression often struggle to find the energy or motivation to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Difficulty sleeping: Depression can affect an individual’s sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or oversleeping. This can result in fatigue and difficulties functioning during the day.
  • Poor self-care: When struggling with depression, individuals may have a harder time taking care of themselves, leading to neglect of personal hygiene and nutrition.

Impact on Relationships:

Depression can also put a strain on relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. This is because untreated depression can cause individuals to withdraw from social interactions or become easily irritable and confrontational.

There are also studies that suggest a link between depression and an increased risk of divorce or separation.

Increased Risk of Substance Abuse:

Individuals with untreated depression may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to substance abuse disorders, which can further worsen their mental health and overall well-being.

In fact, a study found that individuals with depression are twice as likely to develop a substance abuse disorder.

Suicidal Thoughts and Actions:

As mentioned earlier, untreated depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. This is because the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness associated with depression can become overwhelming and unbearable for some individuals. Seeking treatment for depression is crucial in preventing suicide and promoting overall well-being.

Start Feeling Better - Call Our Office Now

The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Depression

It is essential to seek treatment for depression as soon as possible. Here are some reasons why:

Effective management: With proper treatment, individuals with depression can learn coping mechanisms and techniques to manage their symptoms effectively. This can lead to improved quality of life and better overall well-being.

Prevent worsening of symptoms: Untreated depression can worsen over time, leading to more severe symptoms and a decreased ability to cope with daily life. Seeking treatment early on can prevent this from happening.

Reduce risk of developing other mental health conditions: Depression is often linked to other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or substance abuse disorders. Treating depression can reduce the likelihood of developing these conditions.

Improve relationships: Seeking treatment for depression can help individuals improve their relationships with others by learning effective communication and coping skills. This can lead to a better quality of life overall.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, leaving depression untreated can have severe consequences on an individual’s life. From affecting relationships and work performance to increasing the risk of substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, the impacts of untreated depression can be detrimental. Therefore, it is crucial to seek treatment for depression to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being effectively.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Remember, seeking treatment for mental health conditions is a sign of strength, not weakness.


For more information and guidance related to Mental and Behavioral Health, get in touch with our specialized Adult Mental Health Expert!
Dr. Lubna Siddiki MD
About Author

Psychotherapy or Counseling

Table Of Content


Dr. Lubna Siddiki MD
Dr. Lubna Siddiki is a board-certified Adult Psychiatrist. She specializes in treating adults struggling with various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. Dr. Siddiki believes in a holistic approach to mental health treatment and works closely with her patients to develop personalized treatment plans that focus on their overall well-being. She is dedicated to helping individuals improve their behavioral health and lead fulfilling lives.