Depression

Assimilating to a new place or culture can generate high levels of stress, and depression has been observed to be one of the most common psychological consequences among expatriates. Indeed, whilst the severity of this mood disorder can vary, it is far more prevalent than one may think and it negatively impacts how one feels, acts, and thinks.

Once the initial euphoria and excitement related to the departure have worn off, room is unexpectedly left for emotional and mental difficulties. The root cause of depression often lies in unrealistic expectations, and disillusionment and realization can hit hard, once one realizes he still needs to face the same life challenges, but even in another language and according to different rules.

Depressed individuals are less able to cope with stressors that they would otherwise be able to overcome. As a result, depression implies becoming more susceptible to the physical and psychological effects of such stressors and, over time, the cumulative effect can be critically overwhelming and debilitating.

 

Moreover, coping with everyday difficulties in the pre-relocation life includes the possibility to seek assistance from one’s own support network; yet, moving to a new country often means having no close friends to confide in and no one to turn to for friendly advice. Indeed, depression is closely associated with loneliness and the most important (although often the hardest) step towards finding a cure, is to recognize the problem and to ask for help.

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