DETROIT (WWJ) – Can spending time with someone who’s depressed drag you down with them? WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee spoke to a local psychiatrist about a new study that suggests it’s possible to catch depression.

Beaumont Psychiatrist Howard Belkin says he’s not surprised by new research that finds, depression and the emotions associated with it can be contagious.

“At least in that environment being around depressed people can make a person depressed,” Belkin said.

Notre Dame researchers found that the negative mindset of students vulnerable to depression can make their friends more likely to develop the condition down the road.

“If we are feeling down and feeling bad – we want to be around people who are happy, people who are not depressed, who are not gloomy,” Belkin said.

But the study also found the reverse to be true.

“For the people who are depressed – it’s best for them to hang around people and be associated with other people who are happy,” he added.

Doctor Belkin says he hopes the findings help people recognize depression as a serious disorder and that there’s no shame in getting help for it.


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