Why Are Rich People Depressed

Are we to go by the saying – “external success doesn’t translate into internal success?” Why are rich people depressed? Why are they more prone to Depression? They have enough streams of income to make for themselves heaven on earth, but, the plights of majority of  the rich ones are often heartbreaking.

According to Lina Ricciardelli, an associate professor of psychology at Deakin University:

These families should be the happiest families in the universe, shouldn’t they? The old adage that money doesn’t buy you happiness is true. In fact, it might even buy you a few problems.

No matter how some of these wealthy people came about being rich, either merited or favored. The problem they all share remains same: depression.

A good percentage of rich people believe that their wealth bring more problems other than solving.

One of the heartbreaking case is that of Buzz Aldrin, the heroic astronauts of the 1960s and ’70s., who happened to be the second man to have set foot on the moon; returned home from the historic Apollo 11 mission and became an alcoholic and severely depressed – why are rich people depressed ?

Another case is that of Neil Armstrong, the man who stepped out of Apollo 11 just ahead of Aldrin. He spent his next few decades figuring out what to do with his life. He briefly taught some small classes at a university, then quit unexpectedly.

in addition, the death of the popular Robin Williams stirred thoughtful questions:

How did someone who seemed to have everything in life – money, adoration, fame – become so depressed that he took his own life?

Pressure and Stress

Take note: being famous and wealthy comes with its own effects.  As a consequence of seeking pleasure; the rich also have to deal with some inevitable challenges. Such as emotional instability and issues emanating from relationship, job and loss. Why are rich people depressed ?

Drug abuse

From a research conducted in US, affluent people showed high rates of alcohol/drug abuse and eating disorders. And these often pave way for depression.


I have had a number of high-profile individuals in my practice over the years, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they struggle more with depression, says Deborah Serani, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. They constantly ask themselves, ‘Am I a have, or a have-not? Or am I an almost-have?’”

Majority of rich people depend on competitors to rate their self-worth: using those who seems to be more successful than they are.


Studies show that the children of parents who suffer from depression are more likely to develop depression later in life. A person has a 27% chance of inheriting a mood disorder from one parent, and this chance doubles if both parents are affected.

Further Reading:

Understanding Depression:  J. Raymond DePaulo, a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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