How does depression affect your physical health?

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Depression is mental health issue which affects an approximately 1 in 15 adults in any given year. It can occur any time but usually first symptoms appear during the late teenage years to mid-20s. Research has reflected that Women are more likely than men to experience depression

Now a day’s word depression is commonly used whenever people experience stress or go through any crisis. Misinformation regarding the same is seen among people because of lack of awareness regarding mental health concerns. Depression is more than experiencing sadness because of difficult life circumstances. It’s a disorder which impairs individual’s abilities (Affective, physical, cognitive) and represent a change from previous functioning at work and home. Depression represents clusters of symptoms that has been going on for more than two weeks. Apart from that depression can present itself in different ways and it does not look same for every single person.

A variety of different things can cause and be caused by depression. One step towards getting better and overcoming it is to understand how depression can affect and impact us physically and which physical signs to look out for.

FATIGUE AND SLOWING

People suffering from depression often report that no matter how much they sleep they still feel exhausted throughout the day and don’t have strength to do daily routine tasks. This low energy and tiredness can also occur because of impaired sleep due to depression

INCREASE PAIN SENSITIVITY: HEADACHE, CHRONIC JOINT, LIMB & BACK PAIN

People going through chronic pain may become depressed but also emotional and physical pain can be due to depression. They may experience aches and pain that affect joint, limb and back because of depression

Studies have suggested that people with depression have less low pain threshold compared to ones who don’t have depression.

GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEM

Gastrointestinal disturbances (GI) are seen to be very frequent when people are depressed. People report issues like diarrhoea, nausea, bloating, constipation. These GI disturbances correspond again to changes in different neurotransmitter levels and also to reduced movement. This again led to the low body movements and low metabolism which can cause disruption of the gastrointestinal tract.

IMMUNITY

Depression can also affect your immune system and reduce levels of white blood cells which makes it harder for your body to fight off infections and viruses. People also may take longer time to get better and puts them at risk for developing further complications

SLEEP DISTURBANCES

Depression can cause sleep disturbances and people often struggle to fall or stay Asleep. This may be related to difficulties getting comfortable or quieting the mind. Often they are unable to get restful sleep which causes day time fatigue and sleepiness.

APPETITE CHANGES

In Depression one start to over eat or lose appetite. Using food to cope can lead to obesity –related illnesses and stomach aches, while poor nutrition may result in nutritional deficiencies.

REDUCED LIBIDO

Loss of interest in activities which was previously enjoyed is seen in depression. One of these activity which is affected is individual’s sexual life.

PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITY CHANGES

Depression can cause changes in psycho motor activity. Brains mental processes affect our physical movement and its known as psychomotor activity. When psychomotor activity is increased it referred as psychomotor agitation were we can see the person pacing, fidgeting, tapping foot or finger or talking faster than normal. Whereas when psychomotor activity is decreased, people have slow or impaired movement. They talk slowly and do activities very slowly.

Depression adversely impact physical health if its left untreated. It can lead to and trigger other health issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertensions, etc.

No Matter how dejected one can feel because of depression, one can still get better with proper and timely intervention. It’s important that we address mental health concerns immediately and seek help. Finding appropriate treatment can take time but by building support system of family, friends as well as doctors and mental health professionals can make a difference. Reach out to psychiatrist or clinical psychologist who can diagnose and guide you through it.

Image credits: Freepik

Author
Kashmira Mali
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