What Is Depression?
Depression is complex and one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States. About 26% of the adults in the country experience some level of depression. It is a mental disorder that affects just not only a person’s mental well being but also their physical health.
The constant feeling of being down and nothing seems to cheer you up is a significant sign of depression. Depression’s experience varies from person to person. Often it interferes with your daily work, causing a loss of time and productivity.
This disorder has a way of sucking the meaning and joy of life. Chronic feelings of apathy, hopelessness, or despair accompany this condition. Along with the disturbing emotions, this issue might also manifest as physical symptoms, including sleep disturbance, weight loss, pains, fatigue, aches, etc.
Feeling down or unhappy from time to time is a standard part of life. Upsetting and sad events happen to everyone. However, if your sadness starts to interfere with your day to day workings, and you feel hopeless all the time, you should seek professional help because you are dealing with depression.
Without timely and proper treatment, this problem will only get worse. And not only that, but depression can worsen other medical conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?
Depression symptoms might show up in response to grief or trauma for a short period. However, when they last for extended periods, such as for longer than two weeks, they become the sign of a severe depressive disorder.
Watch out for the following symptom if you are feeling down:
- Intrusive thoughts and suicide and death
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- A feeling of guilt or worthlessness
- Low energy levels
- Physical agitation
- Feelings of sluggishness
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Disrupted sleeping schedule
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Persistent feeling of emptiness and sadness
Depression’s symptoms may vary from person to person and can change over time. A doctor usually gives a proper diagnosis if a person has at least five or more signs present simultaneously for two weeks.
How Depression Affects Physical Health?
Weight gain or loss
Depressed people might experience changes in their appetite, which can lead to unintended weight gain or loss. Experts associate excessive weight gain with various health issues, including heart disease and diabetes.
People with a non-standard weight stand to face various medical problems, including heart problems, fertility issues, and fatigue.
Depression can cause a person to experience unexplained pains or aches, including headaches, muscle pain, breast tenderness, or joint pain. This disorder can worsen the condition of people who already suffer from chronic pain.
Depression can cause a person’s motivation to decline, which reduces their resolve to make positive lifestyle choices. The poor lifestyle choices can lead to an unhealthy diet, which increases the risk of heart diseases.
A 2015 research found that one in five people with coronary artery disease or heart failure has depression. In addition to causing heart problems, depression can be an independent factor for multiple health issues.
The research found a link between chronic depression and inflammation. It indicates that this condition might change the working of the immune system. Other studies suggest that chronic inflammation can cause depression.
Those with depression are highly susceptible to inflammatory or autoimmune disorders like type II diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis.
Experts aren’t sure whether chronic inflammation causes depression or the depression makes a person more vulnerable to inflammation. Researchers require more data and in-depth analysis to understand the link between the two better.
Sexual health problems
Depression also causes people’s libido to decrease. They may find it difficult to become aroused, have less pleasurable orgasms, or no longer have orgasms. People often experience relationship problems because of depression, which can also harm their sexual life.
Worsening chronic health issues
People with existing chronic health problems can experience their symptoms worsening if they develop depression. Chronic illnesses already make a person stressed or isolating, and depression only contributes to that feeling.
People with chronic illnesses who experience depression should talk to a doctor about strategies for addressing both issues. Treating mental health problems can improve physical well-being and make chronic conditions more manageable.
How Depression Affects Mental Health?
Depression can interrupt or reduce the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the brain. These chemical (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) changes might be the cause of depression. The chemical imbalance can occur due to other depression triggers like an underlying medical condition, structural changes in the brain, lifestyle changes, medicine side effects, etc.
Some triggers and brain changes due to depression might impair the thinking skills of a person.
People with depression might struggle with the following:
Depression may make it hard for a person to concentrate on a given activity.
Depressed people tend to forget what they did a while back. For instance, they might not remember what they had for dinner, or they cannot recall the details of a significant life event.
Another sign of flawed thinking is the inability to make a decision. People with depression often have difficulty deciding what to eat, where to visit, or which movie to watch.
Depressed people can see an event and gather the relevant information but have difficulty making sense of what is happening and have trouble retrieving those memories later.
Depression also interferes with a person’s ability to get things done, like returning phone calls, paying bills, etc.
Depression is a serious issue, and people should not take it lightly. It can severely hamper a person’s ability to function as intended. If you feel that you might be developing a depression disorder, make sure to consult a mental health specialist and go through the appropriate treatment. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, so seek help as soon you become aware of the problem.