Rick Ness On ‘Gold Rush’: What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Rick Ness on Gold Rush

When the new season of Gold Rush started, fans wondered what happened to Rick Ness. He was nowhere to be found, and that led to the second episode of the season where Zee went to find out where his friend was.

What he found was a dejected Rick Ness. He asked what was wrong, and Rick said it was a mixture of depression, possibly stemming from the unresolved death of his mother. He also had a condition known as seasonal affective disorder.

What is wrong with Rick Ness?

The second episode of Gold Rush this season saw Zee heading to Rick Ness’ home for a welfare check. When Rick answered the door, he looked tired and a bit disheveled. He invited Zee into the garage where he was working on a car to talk. That is when Zee asked why he was here instead of with his crew mining gold.

Rick Ness talking to Zee on Gold Rush

Rick said he had been asking himself the same thing — why was he at home and not working with the people who depended on him. He said that the off-season always includes lots of sleep and recovery. Yet, this time, he wasn’t able to get in the mode to return. He said part of it was depression, but also part was a diagnosis called seasonal affective disorder.

The depression arrived after his mother died. Rick told Zee he still had his mother’s house but hadn’t been there since her death. It sounds like he still has to work through that. Sadly, he has to deal with his seasonal affective disorder first.

What is seasonal affective disorder on Gold Rush?

According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the change of seasons. It usually starts and ends at the same time each year. The signs of SAD include sapping of energy and making a person feel moodier. While most seasonal affective disorder cases take place in the fall and winter, for Rick, it lined up with the winding down of his season for his work mining gold.

Rick Ness talking on Gold Rush

The symptoms include feeling listless or sad every day, losing interest in things a person usually loves, low energy, and feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. It is important for someone like Rick Ness to work through this regardless of what other people might think about this sort of diagnosis.

There is also the case of seasonal affective disorder being at an increased risk for people afflicted with bipolar disorder. This can add agitation, anxiety, and irritability to their personalities. It is important to see a doctor during this time. From what Rick said, it sounds like he has done so.

Do you think Rick Ness will return to mining this season on Gold Rush? Is the show even the same without him? Let us know in the comments below.

Shawn Lealos
Follow me


  1. Why don’t they replace Ness with Marine Johnny from Fred’s Crew! That guys the real deal. Traumatic brain injury, legs all messed up, but nothing stops him. A proud Marine, Freemason, and member of the East Eden Shriners! GO JOHNNY!

  2. Ricks personal life is a mess he loved the thing called Leese and desperately needed her acceptance from his friends and crew she made him feel whole he became lost

  3. Rick I know how you feel I’m in the same boat as you are. keep your chin up think positive and pray for help for recovery it’s a hard battle but we just have to take it 1 day at a time. I hope you return soon hell I will come up and work with you. Your my favorite miner and was so glad when you left parker. See you soon Brian from Illinois.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *