Depression’s disruptive effect on your physical health


Depression’s disruptive effect on your physical health

Depression – feelings of bottomless sadness or rarely feeling happy or suffering from emotional anguish.  These are some of the psychological aspects you may experience if ever having felt depressed.  Depression is a common and serious medical illness that can indeed affect mood in how you feel, the way you think and how you act.  Feelings of sadness and or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed along with a variety of emotional problems can reduce a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

At any given time, depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) with one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. 

Even though depression is technically a mental disorder, it can also affect your physical health and well-being.  This is why many people with depression may also suffer from chronic illnesses.  Sometimes having a chronic illness may often be blamed for why a person is having depression.  We know the feelings of being sad or difficulty in thinking, concentrating or making decisions that may alert us to the fact, we are depressed.  But what about the physical signs of depression?  They often can be a clue as to if someone is suffering from depression:

Physical signs of depression

·      Body aches and pains

Many chronic illnesses have their share of aches and pains, but depression can also make muscles and joints feel sore or exacerbate the problem.  When a person is feeling happy and content, they generally feel less pain than someone with depression.

·      Difficulty sleeping or waking up during the night

Signs of depression could be not being able to relax enough to fall asleep or frequently waking up during the night  and then finding it difficult to go back to sleep.  When we lack sleep or our sleep is disrupted, this can have a profound effect on our mood and the ability to concentrate.

·      Changes in body weight

A loss of appetite or eating more than usual are both behaviors associated with depression.  If a person has gained a lot of weight or has lost a significant amount, either way, this could point back to depression.  In addition, if one is not sleeping well due to anxiety or depression, this can mess with appetite leading to weight loss or gain.

·      Skin complications

When depressed, this affects our hormones which often affect how our skin looks.  Skin complaints of acne, psoriasis, and eczema can be clues to a person who might have depression. 

·      Stomach issues

Symptoms of nausea, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and indigestion may be a result of depression and mood affecting the gastrointestinal tract. 

·      Headaches and migraines

With depression often come headaches and migraines.  If any medications are being taken for a chronic illness, any headaches or migraines could be a result of that too.

·      Oral health problems

People suffering from depression are more likely to need dental work such as tooth extractions and cavities than people who do not have depression.  The reason for this could be that when a person is depressed, they are less likely to be motivated and to be diligent in taking care of their teeth and oral health.