Nursing & Depression

Nurses Stress 101


  1. Nurses and Depression/Anxiety

    • 401
      I think the incidence of depression/anxiety is higher in nursing than other professions.
    • 264
      I feel depression/anxiety has interfered with my job performance.
    • 260
      I feel nursing has played a part in my depression
    • 23
      I feel administration is as supportive to nurses w/ depression/anxiety as w/ other diseases

460 members have participated

While visiting in the lounge one day, we discovered that every nurse there was on an anti-depressant.

I have had 'Treatment Resistant Depression' for about 20 years--as long as I've been a nurse. Now I am totally burned out, on major meds, and am seeking disability d/t depression/anxiety.

I beleive years of long hours, high stress, high expectations and little appreciation (from management, not patients) has contributed to this.

How many other jobs consider you a tratior b/c you call in sick? And trying to get off for a sick child is an unforgivable sin. How many other jobs want you to work overtime on the days you are scheduled, call you at all hours of the night or day when you are off, first pleading w/ you to come in, then laying a guilt trip on you if you say "NO!" And let's not forget the mandatory inservices and CEU's that take time away from your family.

If any profession should understand the importance of the individuals' physical, mental, social and spiritual self it should be nursing--after all we are taught in nursing school about treating the patient as a whole, not just a disease! Why don't we treat our staff the same way.

Anyone out there in the same boat?


61 Posts

I know a RN personally and she is on antidepressant meds & anxiety meds and I totally agree with you on this subject that a lot of nurses have depression and or anxiety. Also a lot of them won't say that they do but you can see it with their daily activiites.


26 Posts

Thanks for the reply--I agree, even though Depression gets a lot of attention in women's magazines it still is seen as a"weakness." not a disease. The only way I can describe depression to someone who hasn't experienced it is as "cancer of the soul." It robs you of all hope and w/o hope you have no reason to live. Nurses are not allowed to have bad days. If you go to work--in any field--be prepared for short stafing,long days and big demands. It is still "do't ask, don't tell' when it come to depression.


71 Posts

I agree that nurses do not take care of themselves. I preach about diet and exercise, but my own habits are terrible. I know 2 nurses that are on antidepressants. They say it prevents the "panic" they feel when multiple tasks need to be done at once. I have heard the same about beta-blockers. A person told me once that actors use beta-blockers to prevent stage-fright. For myself, I use horse back riding to drain away the stress. Mindless riding for hours with a friend.


603 Posts

I just want to say that most people anymore tend to be on antidepressants...our lives are so much more stressful than they used to be.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Howdy yall

from deep in the heat of texas

I dont understand why so many people are on drugs for so called or alledged depression.. I think its way overplayed in the news, the medias and everything else.

Basic things I do when Im a little down

1> I play golf

2> I exercise

3> I eat and sleep well

4> I get laid, excuse the language

5> I go dancing

6> I go to a movie

7> I go to a comedy club

8. Remember little problems are actually no problems, and all problems are little problems.

doo wah ditty


577 Posts

Interesting you should ask this. A few threads ago, I was amazed at how many here are on antidepris.

I know exactly one other person, and yes she is a nurse, among my friends and family, who has to take them.

And believe me, as a nurse I know their illnesses and the ones of their parents etc. you know how that goes!

Is this a difference in culture too?


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery.

I have seen a lot of nurses on anti-depression meds..but I think that nurses are more in tuned to taking a medication than other people would be. I also believe that because of the nature of most nurses as care givers...and problem solvers...they tend to try and take on too much...or more than they can handle. They tend to try and meet too many people expectations of them....instead of remembering their human too.

I also agree that many people today are taking anti depessants...d/t our high stressed, demanding lives. People either don't take vacations or can't afford them. Too many families have their entire day planned out daily...leaving very little just sit back and digest what is going on around them.

I believe in taking time to pray, to think...and to relax. To sometimes kick a few things off that crowded schedule.

And we put the stress on ourselves, and can't blame anyone for the response we give what other do or say to us! Sometime we can't helped to be stressed about a situation...but how we respond to problems at work...depends on us. If my job is stressing me to the point of causing me to be depressed d/t my unexpressed anger...because of how I'm treated....then it' time to get rid of the job! :cool:


104 Posts

I think untill you've personally been hit by depression, you can't fully understand what it feels like. I used to be able to go out, do all the fun stuff like Tom mentioned, eat well, sleep well, yadda yadda yadda....then gradually my sleep patterns went kapoot.. just couldn't sleep anymore, nothing appealed to me, didn't care about anything any longer, something was majorly wrong. I just didn't care about myself. I'd go to work, come home, try to sleep what little I could, go to work, try to sleep, then do it all over again, and that was all I was doing. Finally got onto the right antidepressant, and now I'm back to my old self again! You never know when it'll hit, and you never think it'll be you, but it certainly CAN be you..... (and now it's my bedtime, think I'll go get my restful 9 hours of ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's)


83 Posts

The other day was doing some registry work at a major hospital in Riverside County. The nurses I worked with were very nice, caring, and we all worked as a team. I truly felt sorry for a nurse who had a confused, hallucinating patient, who, according to the daughter "never acted like this before." The daughter showed up on the floor acting hostile, agitated, and downright uneducated in her approach to problem resolutions. Now, bear in mind, this is a family member who may show up on an every-other-day basis, becomes verbal and leaves after one hour. Her comment, upon entering the room was, "This isn't like mom. She's gotten worse. I'm not leaving until I know what is going on." The nurse, hearing this, came into the room and began to ask questions and speaking professionally to the family: 1) Hi! I am the nurse who has been assigned to your mom and she arrived about two hours ago. I understand you are concerned about your mothers condition. What was her previous behavior? 2) You feel it may be the pain medications causing her to behave like this? Let me try to reach the physician and we can discuss her situation then you can speak to him and express your concerns. 3) Is there anything that I can further assist you with in order to resolve any problems you feel we're not addressing? During this entire conversation, the dominant, non-professional family member became loud, obsessed and potentially dangerous. Wonder why nurses are leaving......let the family care for them. Anyway, back to the antidepressant issue, after assisting this nurse with "satisfying" this family member and patient, she stated she might need to speak to someone and get some time off or end up on medication, like the rest of some nurses she has worked with on occassion.


150 Posts

I can't back this up with research, but I really believe that nursing has a larger percentage of people from dysfunctional backgrounds, which make us more susceptible to depression. The caretakers who don't take care of themselves syndrome.. It's a breeding ground for depression.


603 Posts

Originally posted by Jen911

I think untill you've personally been hit by depression, you can't fully understand what it feels like.

AMEN! And just so we're all on the same page, here's the criteria for depression:

Feel down and depressed, most of the day, nearly every day, for at LEAST TWO WEEKS.


Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to like to do, FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS (we are talking no interest here, not no time :))

If you have either of the above and at least five of the following, you may be depressed, please see your MD!

1. SIGNIFICANT weight gain or loss when you are not dieting.

2. Sleeping too much or too little nearly every day.

3. Moving more slowly than you normally do; or being unable to sit still when you used to be able to (not just feeling restless).

4. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

5. Feeling worthless, or having excessive or inappropriate guilt (if someone else is in a bad mood, do you assume it is your fault?)

6. Less ability to think or concentrate, or being unable to make decisions (such as, what do I want to wear to work?)

7. Thinking a lot about death, thinking about suicide.

IF YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR SUICIDE, CALL SOMEONE NOW. I AM NOT KIDDING. If someone tells you they have a suicide plan, take them seriously!

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