Depression is a well-known and, unfortunately, very common mental illness that can affect your emotions, your thoughts, and your actions. Most people have struggled with depression at some point in their lives. However, even though it is a psychological problem, the effects of depression can very often be seen on a person’s body as well. So, in order to help you recognize the symptoms and maybe one day help yourself or your loved one, here are some ways in which depression can affect your body.
People suffering from depression often complain about pain and tightness in their joints, neck, limbs, or back. Some people also experience irregular breathing patterns due to tightness in their chest. The reason for this kind of pain is hormonal imbalance, since the lack of serotonin, the hormone of happiness, affects your body in many negative ways. For instance, it has an important role in your gut, and most of the hormone is actually made and stored there. This is why people with depression often have problems with constipation, diarrhea, and stomach aches. Depression very often manifests itself with headaches as well, and not just due to the hormonal imbalance, but also because of the stress and anxiety that follow depression.
When somebody is depressed, even something as natural as eating can become an issue. A depressed person might start eating more or less than usual, both of which can affect their body in a negative way. In the worst case scenario, one may become either obese or anorexic if the signs of depression go unnoticed for too long. These conditions can then lead to many other chronic diseases, which is why it’s extremely important to prevent them.
Eating too much can damage one’s teeth as well, especially if they happen to eat too many sweets. After all, sweets are a type of comfort food, which is why people with depression will often indulge in them. Once the damage is done though, they would also need to visit a dentist, like a professional endodontist for those who live in Australia.
Depression can also affect a person’s sleep habits, so they might sleep too much or not enough. In both cases, it can result in fatigue and overall physical weakness. Moreover, people with depression will often feel like they cannot get rested no matter how much they sleep, which means that everything takes much more effort to do than it should. This may lead to the lack of desire to do even the simplest tasks, like taking a bath or brushing one’s teeth, which can cause many other health issues.
All the fatigue and pain can affect how a person walks as well. The tension in the back can harm one’s posture, and the weakness in the muscles can make a person move sluggishly. Also, not sleeping enough means that the body does not have time to recharge and repair itself. This can weaken the immune system and make a person more likely to get sick. Plus, the sleep problems caused by depression can, in turn, worsen the depression itself.
Research has shown that depression can be linked to changes in the immune system and inflammation issues, which is why people with depression are more likely to get inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders, such as diabetes and arthritis. Moreover, depression can make dealing with an already existing health condition much more difficult, because a depressed person would have a hard time following the treatment plan. This would make the symptoms worse, and getting better would require much more time.
For most of the aches, there are medicines that can ease the symptoms by providing you with the chemicals that your brain cannot produce due to depression. However, that can only be a temporary solution, since you cannot solve your physical problems until you deal with their source. This is why medication for depression-caused pain is often combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. Mental health medication, in general, often works well as a supplement to the therapy. However, they usually take a few weeks to start working, which is why you should always consult your psychiatrist before taking any medicine.
For eating disorders, a good idea would be to combine the act of eating with the act of preparation. For instance, instead of choosing the easiest option of simply ordering your food, you should try to prepare it yourself. This way, you’d have a healthier, home-cooked meal, and you would also activate yourself by shopping for ingredients, preparing the dishes, cleaning and cutting the food, and washing the dishes later.
Finally, the most important thing anybody with depression should do is find support and professional help. Depression can be difficult and often even impossible to overcome alone because it affects one’s thoughts. It’s hard to reach for help when you’re constantly exhausted, anxious, ashamed of your condition, or feeling guilty for neglecting your friends and loved ones. This is why it’s important to try to separate your thoughts from your feelings and look for help even when you want to be left alone. This does not necessarily mean that you have to visit a psychiatrist; there are many support groups that can help you feel understood and cared for.
If you are not a very sociable person, though, you should consider getting a pet. Caring for another living creature can make you feel less isolated and lonely. Moreover, pets are great companions, and they force you to be active in order to satisfy their needs. They can also help you connect with other people who share your love for animals, and they can make you feel needed, which is a powerful emotion that can help you fight depression.
Dealing with depression is always a challenge, and it can often seem impossible next to all the negative changes your mind and body go through. This is why it should be approached in more ways than one –but even one is a good start. So, if you ever become depressed, accept your condition, and be open to different methods of coping. If you stay patient and persistent, have no doubt that the results will show.