The pain of social rejection lasts longer for them and their brain cells release less of a natural pain and stress-reducing chemical called natural opioid, researchers report.

A team from the University of Michigan Medical School, Stony Brook University and the University of Illinois at Chicago worked together on the study which builds on previous work about social rejection in non-depressed people.

"Our findings suggest that a depressed person's ability to regulate emotions during these interactions is compromised, potentially because of an altered opioid system. This may be one reason for depression's tendency to linger or return, especially in a negative social environment," explained lead author David Hsu from Stony Brook.

This builds on our growing understanding that "the brain's opioid system may help an individual feel better after negative social interactions, and sustain good feelings after positive social interactions," he continued.

On the flip side, when someone they are interested in likes them back, depressed people do feel relatively better - but only momentarily.

Further research could lead to a better understanding of how to boost the opioid response in depressed individuals to reduce the exaggerated effect of social stress, and to increase the benefits of positive social interactions, the team concluded.

The study appeared in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk