Can Depression Kill You? 3 Ways One Could Die From Depression

Depression can be a deadly disease. While it won’t end your life directly, it can lead to behaviors and health conditions that can cause death. How can depression kill you? In this article, we’ll explore 3 different ways someone could die from it (and one related condition).
can depression kill you

Quick Summary

  • Depression can kill you directly if it gets worse to the point of suicide.
  • It can also lead to substance abuse and overdose, indirectly causing death.
  • Severely depressed people may neglect their physical health, which can lead to their death.
  • There’s also a condition known as “broken heart syndrome,” similar to heart failure and caused by an emotional trigger.

Can Depression Kill You? The Risk of Suicide

One of the most tragic ways that depression can claim a life is through suicide. People with depression may feel hopeless and believe they can no longer cope with their mental pain, leading them to take their own life. In fact, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States among young people (15–24 years old).

How can depression kill you by suicide? It can lead to impulsive and desperate actions. It can also worsen the symptoms of other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, that can increase the risk for suicide. To minimize it, it’s important to seek help for depression and take steps towards managing the illness. This can include therapy, medication, and support from loved ones.

Can Depression Kill You? Substance Use Disorder and Overdose

Depression can lead to substance use disorder when a person turns to drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with their mental pain. This can increase the risk of overdose and death. It’s also important to note that depression can be a side effect of substance abuse, creating a dangerous cycle that can lead to fatal consequences.

Unintentional Overdose 🔍

Overdosing on drugs or alcohol isn’t always a suicidal attempt. Sometimes, a person with substance use disorder may accidentally take too much of a substance. This can happen if they have built up a tolerance and don’t realize their body can’t handle a bigger dose. Also, combining substances can increase the risk of overdose, or deadly interactions might occur if a person takes medication while using alcohol.

Can Depression Kill You? Not Treating Physical Illnesses

How can depression kill you if you don’t use drugs or have suicidal thoughts? Major depression can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as neglecting yourself and not seeking medical treatment. This can result in physical illnesses going untreated, ultimately leading to death.

Depression can also potentially worsen the symptoms of physical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, putting a strain on the body and increasing the risk of death. To learn more about the connection, check out our article on whether depression can make you sick.

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy – The Broken Heart Syndrome

Now that we answered the question “How can depression kill you?” in 3 different ways, we want to talk about another condition that comes to mind when we talk about dying from depression: takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as “broken heart syndrome.”

It’s characterized by a sudden, temporary weakening of heart muscles, which leads to symptoms similar to a heart failure or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Left untreated, it can cause sudden and rapid death.

Why is it called “broken heart syndrome?” This condition is often caused by a major emotional stressor, such as divorce, death of a loved one, or significant financial loss. While it can’t be directly attributed to depression, the stress and potential mood changes contribute to the development of takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy – The Broken Heart Syndrome

Treatment Options for Major Depressive Disorder

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a mental health condition, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional. This can include psychotherapy and/or medication. Don’t delay treatment – remember, depression can kill in more ways than one.

Some promising therapy options for depression include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Antidepressant medications can also be effective in managing symptoms of depression, but it can take time to find the right medication and dosage.


If you’re in a crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 988, and they also have a chat option on their website. Other resources can be found on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center website.

Can Depression Kill Your Brain Cells?

Research suggests that untreated depression can lead to shrinkage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory and learning. This can potentially lead to cognitive impairment and can worsen symptoms of depression. This is why it’s important to seek treatment for major depressive disorder, before it can potentially cause lasting damage to the brain.

Can Depression Kill Your Brain Cells?

Can Depression Kill Your Baby If You’re Pregnant?

Untreated depression can have negative effects on both the mother and baby during pregnancy. The mother may not take proper care of herself, leading to health complications for both mother and baby. However, miscarriage is unlikely if the mother is being treated for depression.

Complications of Depression Can Lead to Death

The short answer to “Can depression kill you?” is that it can’t directly, but complications stemming from it can result in death. It can be difficult to see the potential risks when you’re struggling with depression, but it’s essential to seek help and take care of your physical and mental health. Remember, there is support available and recovery is possible.

FAQs About Depression and Death

FAQs About Depression and Death

Can Depression Make You Die Faster?

If you don’t take action to get help, depression may cause you to live a shorter life. Chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke can shorten life expectancy and are more common in those with depression. In addition, one of the major causes of death for those who suffer from depression is suicide.

What Is the Most Serious Form of Depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD), commonly referred to as clinical depression, is the most severe type of depression. A sad mood that persists for at least two weeks and affects everyday activities is a hallmark of MDD. It can cause issues with sleep, appetite changes, concentration issues, fatigue, a feeling of hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.

Is Depression Always Serious?

Yes. Whether it’s major depressive disorder or seasonal depression, it should always be addressed seriously. To guarantee a full recovery, get expert assistance as soon as you can, even if the symptoms seem minor or temporary.

How Much Brain Damage Does Depression Cause?

In various areas of the brain, untreated depression can cause gray matter volume loss. Since these losses were just recently validated by a small study, we are unsure of their exact magnitude. Depression, however, has the potential to alter your neurological connections permanently. You should always take it seriously because it could have an adverse effect on the health of your brain.

Is It Possible to Survive Depression?

You can get through depression, yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless. You can control your symptoms, get back to your regular activities, and lead a healthy life with the help of a therapist and/or medication. Keep in mind that treating depression requires time and effort, but it is possible!

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