Understanding Mental Illness in the Truck Driving Industry

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upper shot of a truck driver

In America, 1.3% of the population suffer from some form of depression. In the truck driving industry, a whopping 13.6% of truck drivers are depressed. That huge difference should alarm the industry, and yet many of these truck drivers go unnoticed until they cannot take it anymore. In one instance, a truck driver who has a family and pet at home decided to take his own life. There were no signs that he was depressed. Friends said that he was jovial and always had a smile on his face. What happened?

Jobs in the trucking industry are some of the depressing occupations in the world. Drivers spend most of their time alone, away from their friends, families, and pets. They don’t have anyone with them on the open road. Others believe that the cause of depression is sleep deprivation. Truck drivers have to take on the road at night when there are fewer cars and less traffic. They are usually sleep- and rest-deprived.

Neglecting to Seek Help

Whatever the cause is, it’s important to recognize that this is a phenomenon that’s happening all too common in this industry. But since most truck drivers are men, the problem often gets unnoticed. Men see depression and anxiety as a sign of weakness. They don’t talk about feelings of sadness or loneliness with their friends or families because they think that it makes them look weak. As a result, they end up neglecting their needs for counseling and therapy.

Drivers think that it is natural for them to feel sad when they are on the road. After all, they miss their family, and they rarely get to spend time with them. But there are tell-tale signs of when drivers are depressed. Their families should be on the lookout for these signs.

Signs That a Truck Driver Is Depressed

Truck drivers who experience alcohol or substance abuse are most often depressed. They also experience rapid weight gain or loss. They are constantly sad, upset, or angry. They also sleep for a longer time, or they don’t sleep at all. You will instantly notice when someone you love is depressed when they no longer enjoy the things they normally do. Unexplained physical pain is often a sign of depression, too.

Coping with Depression

truck driver in a red truck

It is important for the depressed to recognize that they are suffering from this mental illness. Depression is not always based on one’s environment. It can be genetic, too. Depressed truck drivers should know how to seek professional help. They can speak to a physician for the possibility of undergoing medication and other kinds of therapy.

They should also reach out to their friends and family. If you have someone in your life who’s working in the trucking industry, make sure that they feel that they can come to you. Listen to their woes. Be there for them even if you have nothing to offer but a listening ear.

Truck drivers should also look for hobbies that will make them feel good about themselves. It can be helping out a local charity. It can even be a small business on the side. It should be something that will keep their negative thoughts at bay.

People with depression don’t have to go through it alone. Depression is more normal than people think. It’s not taboo. It’s not uncommon. Everyone should play their part in making this world a better place for everyone, including those suffering from mental health problems.

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