How Depression Can Effect Your Overall Health
Depression is a mental health condition that is characterised by feelings of low mood, sadness, a loss of interest in activities, and an inability to focus on day-to-day tasks. While we all have down periods throughout our life, if you experience the above feelings intensely for weeks, months, or even years – you may be struggling with depression.
However, the effects of depression are not just psychological – they can have a wide-reaching impact on your overall health. Here are just five ways that depression can disrupt your general well-being.
Depression usually has an impact on sleep – by either causing a person to get too much or not enough. The link between sleep and depression is strong. Insomnia is the most common issue faced and research shows that this occurs in up to 75% of people with depression and around 15% have hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness). Unfortunately, sleep problems can worsen depression and lead to a negative cycle that can be difficult to break without professional help.
Depression can have a severe effect on your appetite – by causing you to either binge eat or lose interest in food altogether. Such drastic changes in eating habits can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and even malnutrition. In addition, overeating may lead to issues such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you are struggling with depression, it is recommended that you work hard to maintain a balanced diet. This will help you manage your moods and improve your overall wellbeing.
The effects of depression may compromise your immune system over time and increase your susceptibility to illness. This is because chronic stress causes an inflammatory response in the body that impairs immune function, meaning depression can lead to the worsening of other health issues – if help and support are not sought.
Dealing with chronic depression and stress for long periods of time can cause the body to release stress hormones which increase your heart rate and can even lead to hypertension. If you stay in a state of emergency (fight or flight) for too long, this may eventually lead to cardiovascular issues like heart disease. What’s more, depression is often linked to increased tobacco, alcohol, and drug consumption which often goes hand in hand with an unbalanced diet – all of which can also have a negative effect on cardiovascular health.
Last but not least – without proper treatment – depression can increase a person’s risk of suicide. It is important to note that getting the right help and support can significantly reduce the likelihood of suicidal tendencies. If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, contact your local emergency number immediately. If you suspect someone may cause harm to themselves, it is vital that you stay with them until you can get them to safety.
Getting the help you need
From decreased productivity to difficulties with relationships, depression can have a significant impact on every aspect of your life. It can also cause a wide range of symptoms that may have effects on your overall health. The good news is that with the right help and support, you can maintain both your physical and mental health and start on the road to recovery.
At Positive Mind Works, we have an experienced team of psychologists who offer a range of effective treatments for depression. Your PMW psychologist will work with you to develop an individual plan to help you transform your current situation. We use evidence-based strategies to help you become a happier, healthier version of you. Depression leads to negative thoughts but don’t let this stop you from seeking treatment. We can help you break this cycle and get you on your way to a more positive future.
Wondering if you might be displaying signs of depression? Click here to take our self-assessment for depression.