Depression & Anger Relationship

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson, you will learn the definitions of depression and anger and how they relate on different levels. Following the lesson will be a brief quiz to test your new knowledge.

What Is Depression?

Sally has felt gloomy and miserable for the past few weeks. She doesn't know why she's feeling like this; nothing in particular has occurred recently to make her so sad. She's been sleeping for about 10 hours each night, eating tons of junk food, and gaining weight. She loves sewing, but hasn't had an interest in picking up a needle since feeling this way. She can't concentrate clearly enough to finish one task. She has stopped hanging out with friends, and sometimes feels worthless. She even contemplates ending her life.

Sally is going through a Major Depressive Episode which is the most common form of depression. Depression involves having a depressed mood, feelings of fogginess, fatigue and worthlessness, eating or sleeping too much or too little, lack of interest in things that were interesting at one time, and possible thoughts of suicide.

Sally is not just feeling depressed. She is also short-tempered and defensive with close friends and family. She feels impatient and annoyed with strangers. Why is Sally feeling angry? What does anger have to do with depression?

What Is Anger?

Anger is a feeling of intense irritation, aggravation or annoyance towards or about someone or something. It's important to note that anger is a normal, and even healthy emotion! It is our body's way of responding to a perceived threat, as it essentially enters into a 'flight or fight' mode. Of course, anger is not healthy when it is expressed in a destructive or harmful manner, which is often what happens in a depressed person.

What Is the Relationship Between Depression and Anger?

When we think of a person who is depressed, we see him or her alone, sad, crying, and perhaps contemplating suicide. We may not think of them as angry, but they often are. There are several possible explanations for this.


Depressed individuals often feel very irritable. Irritability is a feeling of being easily annoyed and aggravated due to an exaggerated reaction to stimuli. It could be a depressed wife at home with the baby, irritated by her husband trying to playfully tease and tickle her. Unfortunately, friends and family may respond with their own anger, because they don't understand that the irritability is caused by the depression.

Low self-esteem

Many cases of depression are a result of low self-esteem. Perhaps an adult was bullied or abused throughout childhood, and therefore thinks very low of themselves, which can lead to depression. People with low self-esteem and depression are highly reactive, quick to get their feelings hurt, and may become easily angry and insulted.

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