Recognizing Depression

Depression affects over 30 million adults.

What is depression?

Major depressive disorder is a medical condition that causes extreme feelings of sadness and hopelessness. If you have depression, you may notice a loss of interest in activities that you were previously interested in.

While it’s common to feel down for a period of time following a loss or tragic life event, depression that lasts for longer than two weeks is a sign of major depressive disorder. Some signs of depression include:

If you experience these symptoms, seek professional evaluation and treatment. Effective plans are available to help you manage depression, so you feel more like yourself again.

The physical effects of depression

Depression’s physical effects on the human body are well-documented by research. Depression can be so debilitating as to influence every part of your body. Here are some of the ways that depression can hurt you physically.

Depression can lead to loss of appetite and nausea, which can cause you to lose weight. Depression can also lead to an increased appetite and weight gain. Being underweight or overweight contributes to serious health risks such as heart problems, infertility, diabetes, and fatigue.

Depression can cause unexplained aches and pains, increased tenderness, and problems with your joints and muscles. Those who suffer from chronic pain may also notice that their depression worsens.

A decreased libido, trouble with arousal, and difficulty orgasming have been attributed to depression.

People with depression tend to have trouble either getting to sleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Sleep deprivation is quite serious as it can lead to diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, high blood pressure, and other chronic health issues.

Those with depression often report having issues with their stomach and digestion. This can manifest into diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

If you or a loved one are experiencing depression, get help today.

Author
Kent Smalley, MD

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