People can have varying degrees of depression. It ranges from fleeting states of low mood to severe, persistent episodes of sadness. If an individual reaches the end of the spectrum or exhibits the most severe symptoms, their condition is called clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It requires professional treatment, such as medication and therapy.
To properly diagnose clinical depression, doctors use The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This handbook categorizes each condition, and a clear set of criteria must be met to reach a diagnosis.
Depression is a mental disorder affecting millions of people each year. In an article published by the World Health Organization, they highlighted that approximately 280 million people all over the world are suffering from this condition. In the United States alone, about 21 million people said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2021.
Depression impacts not only the mind, but one’s physical well-being as well. Some of the physical effects of depression include inconsistent sleep habits, changes in appetite, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and back pain. Meanwhile, its psychological effects include feelings of worthlessness, constant irritability, overwhelming sadness, helplessness, low self-esteem, withdrawal from socializing, and thoughts of death.
Symptoms of clinical depression are severe enough that they can interfere with a person’s relationships and day-to-day activities. Managing symptoms can be possible through the help of psychological counseling, antidepressant medications, or a combination of the two.
10 Psychological Effects Of Depression on the Body
Depression can negatively affect a person’s mental health, which could manifest itself in the following ways:
Feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness are the most common signs of depression. One may feel like their circumstances aren’t going to change, and they suddenly lose interest in the activities they used to enjoy. Other times, people find themselves crying for no apparent reason.
They may feel anxious or worried about an impending danger even when there’s no environmental threat.
They feel worthless and guilty about their past mistakes and failures. They blame themselves for being a burden to other people.
Irritability and Fatigue
People with depression can get angry or frustrated easily, even over trivial things. Meanwhile, fatigue makes it difficult for them to get through the day.
Depression can result in agitation and restlessness, such as pacing, inability to sit still, or hand wringing.
They may have trouble remembering things, maintaining focus, or making decisions. They may not even recall the things they said recently or the appointments they’ve set.
People with depression tend to isolate themselves, cut off communication, and refuse to go out with friends.
Erratic Sleep Behaviors
Sleeping habits change – they may find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sometimes they sleep for long periods and don’t feel like getting out of bed.
Overeating or Loss of Appetite
Some people reward themselves with food to cope with their stress, while others lack interest in eating, making them lose weight.
Thoughts of Self-Harm
They may have suicidal thoughts that need to be addressed immediately. If someone talks about suicide, it’s vital to help the person seek urgent medical care.
6 Physical Effects Of Depression
Here’s how depression affects one’s physical health:
People with depression can experience appetite changes, resulting in unintended weight loss or gain. Excessive weight can increase their risk of diabetes and heart disease, while lack of weight can contribute to a weakened immune system and fatigue.
They may feel aches or pains in different parts of the body, like joints or muscles, as well as constant headaches.
Stress hormones can increase heart rate and tighten blood vessels, leading to a cardiovascular condition over time.
Additionally, a lack of energy and a poor diet can reduce their motivation to do physical activities. And a sedentary lifestyle makes them prone in the long run to heart problems.
Chronic stress and depression can also hit the immune system. This makes it difficult for your body to protect you against inflammatory conditions or autoimmune disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and arthritis.
Sexual Health Problems
Some may have a lower libido, struggle to become aroused, or have less pleasurable orgasms.
It’s also common for some people to experience stomach or digestive problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or constipation. This could be due to the physical and chemical connections between the brain and digestive systems.
3 Ways Depression Affects Relationships
The negative feelings linked to depression make it challenging for an individual to display good social behavior. This eventually affects their relationship with family, friends, and colleagues.
Inability to Socialize
People with depression may only have a few close relationships, primarily because of poor social interactions. Some intentionally avoid talking to other people to avoid rejection. Unfortunately, this reinforces a negative perception from others that they’re unfriendly.
Conflicts With Loved Ones
Depression can trigger irritability and hostility in a person. This could lead them to lash out at their caregiver, causing the latter to feel stressed or burdened. As a result, arguments will follow, which could deepen the rift in relationships.
Depression’s effects on the body can be debilitating. It can affect you mentally, physically, and socially. It dampens your ability to take pleasure in the things you used to enjoy. It also causes you to withdraw from social relationships, even your family and closest friends. Additionally, the loss of energy and lack of motivation can make it challenging to perform your daily duties.
You don’t have to live in the dark forever. You can have a happier and healthier future with the right treatment strategies. Evidence-based therapies can help you manage the long-term effects of depression.
If you are struggling with this mental illness, Roots TMS is committed to providing a level of care tailored specially to your needs. Call us today to learn more about our treatment programs.