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Nursing & Depression


Nurses and Depression/Anxiety

  1. 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.
    • 259
      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

459 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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

teeituptom, BSN, RN

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

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?


Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

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 room...to 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 ...to 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:

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)

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.

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.

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!


It seems from some of the replies that even professional lack understanding about those who live with depression. I've fought it for 20 years. That is not just one long really bad mood. My psyhiatric history reads like a grade B movie. I am a positive person, not into organized religion, but very spiritual. For my anxiety attacks I meditate, and pray something to the effect of "Lord, I don't want this, and I wish you would take it away, but if you choose not to, them just keep me from doing something stupid!" I know when I am extreemly depressed to try various things such as exercise, calling a friend, etc.. But you cant tell me this is "so called or alldged" depression. I would not choose to live this way for 20 years. Haven't you heard that is is caused by a chemical imbalance? There is also a heredity factor. Although my mother and fater never dealt with it, my Grandmother was very depressd. My sister has a long term history of it too.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.


Specializes in burn, geriatric, rehab, wound care, ER. Has 25 years experience.

worry not carpe-de-em, there are none so blind as those who will not see. It seems like teeituptom has his own mental health issues - obsessive-compulsive-golf-disorder!


Specializes in cardiac ICU.

I don't think I can be as nice as carpe de em.

Wow, Tom. How did someone so obviously proud of his own ignorance ever get to be a nurse?

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

Tom, I will be down in TX next week and would like you to demonstrate the effectiveness of all of the above coping skills. :kiss

teeituptom, BSN, RN

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

Howdy yall

from deep in the heat of texas

Seems like I hit some sore feelings about depression here. Im sorry if my alledged flippancy has hurt some feelings. Wasnt meant to. I didnt criticise people. I did criticise the Media. Try watching TV and see how many ads there are for trying this drug or try that drug and your life will be better. Go see you doctor today and your life will be better once you are on drugs. Yes I criticise the media. And I will continue to criticise the media and how it plays to foster these beliefs.

Now I was going to respond to this at length. But I choose not to launch a personal attacks as directed at me. And carpe de em I wasnt launching anything personal at you but suggesting alternatives. And there are alternatives to drug usage.

And UKRN, I like that obsessive compulsive golf disorder, that cool

And canoehead, come on down to texas, and I will show the merits in a good round of golf. Solves a lot of problems.

ddoo wah ditty

How many of you know nurses that have committed suicide? It is higher than the national average.

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