Can Traveling Help with Depression?

woman with backpack

This is an excerpt from a person’s story with depression while traveling, as posted on

“…And believe me, I thought about how lucky I was to be there every minute. But I had plenty of down moments, too. I felt guilty about not enjoying the ‘landmark’ experiences like the Top of the Rock observation deck and absolutely loving the quirky, non-iconic ones. I worried frequently that I wasn’t enjoying myself enough in proportion to the amount of money that I was spending on the trip. And I felt ashamed to share these feelings with my family and my boyfriend back home…”

More than 15 million Americans have major depressive disorder each year, all of whom are likely experiencing feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, apathy, loss of interest, lack of concentration, weight gain, and much more. Many people with depression try to self-medicate through drinking and drugs. However, there is a common belief that travel can help cure symptoms of depression – the beautiful scenery and sense of adventure is thought to help the person appreciate what is around them and recognize the beauty that is life. As romantic as this sounds, it’s not always the case.

Your reasons for traveling should be very clear. If you’re wanting to travel so that you can run away from your problems, they will still be there when you come back. If you’re going because you believe it will cure your depression, you will be disappointed to find that it’s still there. Depression is something that you must work on every day – it’s not something that you can run away from. When traveling is done impulsively and for the wrong reasons, it can have devastating effects.

If you’re considering traveling, ask yourself what your true motivations are. Why do you want to leave? Understand all the preparation and uncertainties that can arrive with traveling. Will you be able to effectively handle these instances on your own? If your reasons are to run away from your depression, perhaps you should make a trip to a treatment center instead – it could help you develop the tools you need to live happier and healthier.





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