Stress and depression are undoubtedly connected. Stressful life events often cause depression. Some symptoms of stress such as a bad mood, irritability, insomnia, and poor concentration overlap with depression symptoms, which further confirms the similarity of connection between stress and depression. However, there are people who do not develop depression, although they are under high-stress levels or suffer from stressful life events.
Many studies have been done to find if relaxation methods can treat depression. The conclusion to most has been: depression can be treated with relaxation if depression is mild to moderate. But knowing if depression is mild to moderate is a difficult task even for doctors.
Using a relaxation technique as the primary treatment for depression is not a common practice. This does not mean it cannot be a successful way to fight this disorder, but usually, patients require medication treatment or psychotherapy. However, using a relaxation method combined with medication or psychotherapy is beneficial, especially where stress is the underlying factor in developing unipolar depression (absence of mania or hypomania).
Using relaxation for the treatment of bipolar patients is not recommended. However, if it is done in a controlled environment by a qualified psychiatrist along with medication treatment, some may benefit from lowered stress.
Using both medication and relaxation for the treatment of unipolar depression is better than using either one individually. Having a method for lowering stress is always useful in cases of depression, and it can be also a good aid when patients are coming off of medication (if a doctor and a patient agree).