The Effects of Depression on the Body The Effects of Depression on the Body

the Effects of
on the Body

Depression is a mental disorder, but it can affect your physical health and well-being.

Lasting sadness or guilt that won’t quit may be a sign of clinical depression. Read more.

It may not be easy to talk about the emptiness or feelings of hopelessness. Read more.

Trouble remembering things or making decisions can make life difficult for people with depression. Read more.

Depression may cause a preoccupation with hurting oneself and increases the risk of suicide. Read more.

Depressed children may be extremely clingy and refuse to go to school. Read more.

Headache and other aches and pains may plague a person with depression. Often, pain doesn’t improve with medication. Read more.

Using food to cope can lead to obesity-related illnesses and stomachaches. Read more.

Appetite changes can cause you to eat less or eat the wrong foods, causing nutritional deficiencies. Read more.

Depression and stress cause blood vessels to constrict, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease. Read more.

People who are depressed are more likely to die following a heart attack. Read more.

Depression weakens your ability to fight off disease. Read more.

Overwhelming Sadness
Cognitive Changes
Weight Problems
Constricted Blood Vessels
Weakened Immune System
Emptiness or Hopelessness
Preoccupation with Death
Aches and Pains
Poor Appetite
Heart Attack Outcome

The Effects of Depression on the Body

We all feel sad or anxious at times. It’s a normal part of life. However, clinical depression does interfere with your ability to function. Depression affects how you feel and can also cause changes throughout your body. Major depression is a serious medical condition that has a dramatic effect on your quality of life.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.7 percent of adults in the United States have depression. People with depression often develop other health issues as well. Major depression is also called major depressive illness or clinical depression.

Central Nervous System

Depression can cause a lot of symptoms, many of which are easy to dismiss or ignore. It may be especially difficult to detect in children, who can’t articulate their symptoms, or in older adults, who may blame their symptoms on aging.

Symptoms of depression include overwhelming sadness, grief, and a sense of guilt. People with depression often complain about feeling tired all the time. They also tend to have trouble sleeping. Other symptoms include irritability, anger, and loss of interest in things that used to bring pleasure, including sex. It may be described as a feeling of emptiness or hopelessness. Some people may find it difficult to put these feelings into words. Frequent episodes of crying may be a sign of depression, but not everyone who is depressed cries.

Other symptoms include inability to concentrate, memory problems, and difficulty making decisions. People with depression may have trouble maintaining a normal work schedule or fulfill social obligations.

Some people who are depressed may use alcohol or drugs. They may become reckless or abusive. A depressed person may consciously avoid talking about it or try to mask the problem. People suffering from depression may be preoccupied with thoughts of death or hurting themselves. There’s an increased risk of suicide.

Children get depressed, too. Signs include clinginess, worry, and unwillingness to attend school. Children may be excessively irritable and negative.

Depression can cause headaches, chronic body aches, and pain that may not respond to medication.

Digestive System

Depression can affect the appetite. Some people cope by overeating or binging. This can lead to weight and obesity-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes. Others lose their appetite or fail to eat nutritious food. Eating problems can lead to stomachaches, cramps, constipation, or malnutrition. Symptoms may not improve with medication.

Cardiovascular and Immune Systems

Depression and stress are closely related. Stress hormones speed heart rate and make blood vessels tighten, putting your body in a prolonged state of emergency. Over time, this can lead to heart disease.

According to Harvard Medical School, patients who are depressed when hospitalized for a heart condition are two to five times likelier to have severe chest pain, heart attack, or stroke, in the next year. Recurrence of cardiovascular problems is linked more closely to depression than to smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Untreated, depression raises the risk of dying after a heart attack. Heart disease is also a trigger for depression.

Depression and stress may have a negative impact on the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections and diseases.