Depression for love: what it is, its causes and with what symptoms it is expressed

Depression is a mental disorder that affects so many people around the world; in fact, it is one of the most prevalent disorders in virtually every country. Its causes can be very diverse.

In this article we will focus on depression for loveThis is what happens as a result of going through a process of romantic break-up and consequently of facing the process of grieving for a loved one.

What are the defining characteristics of romantic depression? What about its symptoms, causes and treatments? How is a break-up process experienced and what does this have to do with depression? Let’s find out through this article.

    Depression for love: what is it?

    Depression for love is one that has the direct cause of a breakup. like that, when we talk about depression for love, we talk more about depression for lack of love.

    Because when we are in love, we are not precisely depressed, and it is breakdowns of love or disillusion that can cause us to depression, not love itself. So what causes suffering in people is lack of love, not love.

    How do we feel when we are in a relationship breakup?

    Symptoms of all kinds usually appear in the first few days after a rupture. Anxiety, fear, insomnia, loss of appetite, feeling of emptiness … Surely many of you have experienced it.

    Outraged, there is also often a compulsive need to contact the other person. We must be attentive to these first symptoms because, although they are completely normal (and even adaptive), if they are prolonged in time or if their intensity is disproportionate, one can be at risk of depression. What we call here “depression for love”.

    On the other hand, the so-called “abstinence syndrome” appears, which is a very normal and frequent state, both mentally and physically, when one has just lost a source of security and pleasure. We must keep in mind what has already been said and is it love, on its own, does not generate this abstinence syndromeBut it is the loss of a loved one that causes it.

    Patterns of behavior in break-up and depression

    As a result of loss or breakup, we can act very differently from each other, but it is true that there are often some common patterns that are mentioned here, in addition to some of the following, that appear. with some frequency.

    Resorting to unbridled sex with strangers to “scare” the pain (or to stop thinking), the use of toxic substances (such as tobacco, alcohol or hard drugs) to “escape” we to distract or also not to think, ruminative or obsessive thoughts, unanswered questions, descents, sleepless nights, stagnation … Do they speak to you?

    When it all lasts over time, or when the intensity of these symptoms or behaviors is so high that it can seriously interfere with our daily life (That is, in our functioning), then what we call here depression for love may arise. What are its characteristics? How to treat it? We will see in the following sections.

    Symptoms of depression for love

    In reality, one cannot say that depression for love is a “subtype of depression” (at least, this term does not exist in any reference manual of diagnosis); when we talk about depression for love we are referring to a type of depression that is commonly referred to as this because it occurs as a result of love (or rather lack of love).

    For all this, the symptoms of depression for love they are the same as those which appear in any type of depression, although “bathed” by this feeling of having lost the loved one. In this way, the following can appear.

    1. Psychic symptoms

    The quintessential symptom of depression is bad mood. In the case of romantic depression, these symptoms may be exacerbated when times are recalled with the person who has been lost. It is common to enter states of nostalgia and especially melancholy.

    2. Motivational and behavioral symptoms

    There is apathy, inhibition, anhedonia, lack of motivation, psychomotor retardation (or vice versa, restlessness), etc.

    As in the previous case, all of these symptoms can intensify – when you enter a thought loop (Which are usually negative) towards the other person, or in compulsive behaviors of looking for the other on social media, checking what they are doing, etc.

    3. Cognitive symptoms

    The performance of different cognitive processes and skills is also impaired in depression, which is detrimental: memory, attention, mental speed …

    As for the content of cognition, it may appear Aaron Beck’s so-called “negative triad” characterized by a negative (and pessimistic) view of oneself, the world and the future.

    In depression for love, this could translate or become negative ideas also about the other person, about their own relationship, about the breakup, etc.

    4. Physical symptoms

    On the physical level, sleep disorders appear (the so-called “sleepless nights” characteristic of this depression, as well as insomnia or other disorders), fatigue, change in appetite, decrease in sexual desire …

    5. Interpersonal symptoms

    Finally, in the area of ​​interpersonal relationships, there is a deterioration of the same, decreased interest in interacting with others and even rejection of people.

    In this sense, and especially in the early stages of a breakup, people tend to isolate themselves at home without wanting to date anyone, or conversely, to go out to party every weekend and out of step, etc.

    In relation to the latter, the aforementioned behaviors of having unbridled sex with strangers may appear in some people.

    the causes

    Although every situation is a world, there are generally two types of romantic depression: either a breakup or being rejected by the person we love (In more colloquial terms, “give us pumpkins”).

    These types of situations are a part of life and we will go through them all (and surely on more than one occasion). In other words, these are situations that should not cause depression, even if they involve feelings of sadness and emptiness, because in the end we are talking about the grieving process and it is normal to feel that way.

    However, there are people who, due to their personal characteristics (vulnerability, for example, or insecurities) or by the circumstances that accompanied the breakup or disillusionment with love, if they develop depression.


      As far as psychotherapy is concerned, the treatment for depression out of love will in fact be the treatment used to treat depression in general (adapting of course to each person).

      In the specific case of romantic depression, dysfunctional thoughts associated with the breakup and the grieving process will need to be worked on closely with the patientThat is, to all those who hinder the acceptance of the current situation (that is, the acceptance of reality).

      It will also be important to work on the patient’s self-esteem, as it is often affected in this type of situation or process. Thus, we will seek to enhance it through different techniques and exercises (without forgetting the concept of self, closely linked to self-esteem).

      There are different psychological treatments that have been shown to be effective for depression.. Some of them are:

      • Lewinsohn Enjoyable Activities Program
      • Social skills training (EHS) by Versen and Mclean
      • Lewinsohn course for coping with depression -CAD-
      • Therapy of Rehm’s self-control
      • Nexu Troubleshooting Therapy

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
      • Aragón, RS and Cruz, RM (2014). Causes and characterization of the stages of the romantic duel. Psychological Research Act, 4 (1): 1329-1343.
      • Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century (chapters 1-8, 16-18).

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