The Days Got Shorter: Learn The Symptoms of Depression

Long-haul truckers face a variety of pressures and demands in their career. From long hours on the road to maintenance demands for their vehicles. What’s often not discussed are the risks truckers face from depression. However, a 2020 study found that 44% of long-haul truck drivers reported symptoms of depression, over twice the national average. Let’s look at the symptoms of depression and ways to manage the stress that can increase the risk of depression.

Signs of Depression in Truckers and Others

Everyone experiences moments of feeling sad. Depression, however, is more than “feeling down” and often has nothing to do with emotion. Here are the more common signs of depression.

  • Consistent low mood that extends over weeks
  • Disinterest in or avoidance of hobbies and activities
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Physical pain and increase in health issues
  • Decrease in self-care activities, including hygiene
  • Increased pessimism and sense of hopelessness
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased or new substance use
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you must contact your doctor immediately. Remember, you’re not alone. If you have suicidal thoughts or if a friend or loved one is in crisis, reach out to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Help is available. Speak with someone today. 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.

Reducing Stress in Your Trucking Work

Stress reduction is an integral part of any depression treatment. Stress management can be tricky for truckers, who spend long hours on the road, often alone. Here are ways that truckers can add some stress reduction to their trips.


Your truck keeps you sitting for long hours on a haul. Fortunately, even small amounts of exercise can benefit your mental health. Consider,

  • Taking small 5–10-minute strolls at safe truck stops
  • Having small hand weights in your truck for simple curls while you wait for dispatch or a load/unload
  • Create an exercise routine for yourself at home on your days between hauls that include walks, jogging, or weightlifting

Eat Healthy(er)

For many truckers, fast food and restaurants are their primary food sources. Unfortunately, constantly eating out can hurt both your pocketbook and your health. Keep fruit and whole grain snacks on hand in your truck for snacking better between meals. When you eat out, ensure that you include a vegetable or salad with your meals.

Trucking Healthy Meal

Keep a Journal

Journalling is an excellent way to organize your thoughts and provide yourself with an outlet for thoughts and emotions. Many therapists recommend them as ways for people to record concerns or questions in between sessions. You can keep a written journal in your truck to write in during stops and delays. You can also keep a verbal journal using your recording app on your phone or any other recording device.

Maintain Community with Others

The connections we have with others are a powerful way to reduce stress. Friends and family give us people to talk to when we reach low points. They can also be accountability partners to help us exercise and maintain interests when our motivation is low from depression. Keep in contact with friends and family while you’re on the road. Use social media to help you maintain community and communication with your fellow drivers.

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