Do you regularly face discomfort yet you are unable to pinpoint the source of your uneasiness? Are you concerned that your body is exhibiting physical symptoms regularly without cause?
There’s a high chance that Depression is triggering its symptoms in you. Read this article to know more.
Although it’s excellent that people are more conscious of the significance of mental health in overall well-being, the weighty term “depression” and “anxiety” is frequently misunderstood.
The memes have glamourized being depressed and persuaded us that it is widespread and that everyone experiences it, making it seem less significant. The truth, however, is far different.
1. Can Depression Make You Sick?
Depression affects everyone equally and almost everything and it does make you physically sick along with torturing your mental balance. Plus, it’s not just in your head.
Your physical health can be severely impacted by depression causing physical pain. Here’s a closer look at the clinical effects of depression.
Every element of life, including academic achievement, work productivity, relationships with family and friends, and participation in society, can be significantly impacted by depression. It affects all types of people – young and old, rich and poor, in every nation.
But, what is depression? Is it simply laziness, unwillingness to do the daily chores, or a heartbreak response?
Let us understand.
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2. What is Depression? Meaning and Causes
Contrary to popular belief, depression is a crippling disorder that can impact your mind, body, and daily functioning. It is not just a sensation of melancholy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Depression is a chronic mental disorder. Depression is a symptom of various mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and dysthymia.
It is a common, transient response to traumatic events in life, such as the death of a loved one; and it is a side effect of some medications and medical procedures. Sadness, difficulty in concentrating and thinking clearly, as well as a noticeable change in food or sleep schedule, may be present.
So, Can depression make you sick? Yes, it can.
Continuous sadness and a lack of interest in previously satisfying or delightful activities are their basic hallmarks. Additionally, it may disrupt appetite and sleep. Concentration problems and fatigue are typical and widespread.
A person’s ideas, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being are all impacted by depression, which is medically categorized as a mental and behavioral disorder. It is believed that 5% of adults worldwide suffer from the illness.
3. Symptoms of Depression
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3.1. Sleeping Patterns
A common sign of depression is trouble sleeping. Yet depression can also be brought on by insomnia. Sleeping too much or too little can be a big physical sign of a depressive episode that you don’t want to ignore.
One day, you might find yourself overthinking all night long, while on other days, it might seem hard to get out of bed and open your eyes.
In a clinical examination of more than 8,500 individuals, for instance, it was discovered that 83% of those with depression reported sleep disturbances, compared to 36% of those without depression.
Numerous studies have found a substantial correlation between insomnia and depression, to the point that a mental health professional may be hesitant to diagnose depression in the absence of a major change in sleep schedules.
3.2. Weakened Immune System
Evidence shows that Depression can lead to inflammation. Your body reacts in that way to stress, infection, and damage. Immune system impairment goes hand in hand with inflammation.
Critical health issues like Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis can develop as a result of such chronic inflammation.
3.3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Depression has proved to be linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). You must have noticed that our moods and our digestive system have a solid connection. The gut-brain connection is a reality.
On some days, you can begin to feel nauseous an hour before delivering a work presentation. Similarly, you may recall the numerous nights you spent miserable following a severe attack of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Your digestive system may be impacted by depression and stressful situations if they cause bowel contractions, worsen reflux, or impair your ability to digest specific meals. Similar to how what occurs in your digestive system may have an immediate impact on your temperament.
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Another common symptom, Headaches, the throbbing, painful pains that can strike anywhere on your head, which are frequent occurrences. According to statistics, stress headaches affect up to 80% of adults.
Although you can also be coping with other chronic conditions if headaches and depression are associated. Depression and headaches can act as fueling agents for each other.
In fact, according to research published by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 11% of patients with mental health disorders had migraine attacks before those disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar, and anxiety disorders.
3.5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GRED) is a condition where the stomach contents are pushed to the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in the heart and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Depression and anxiety can severely affect the amount of stomach acid your body produces, which can increase the risk of ulcers. A Study concluded that Your emotions and stress can cause acid reflux and that the greater the level of your stress is, the more severe your acid reflux will be. Resulting in a harmful cycle of discomfort and anxiety.
A 2018 study found that those with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRED) have a relatively higher level of anxiety and depression.
3.6. Body and Muscle Aches
Mostly mental pain and physical pain goes hand-in-hand. Our mood is regulated by the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, which also affect how we perceive pain.
When these brain chemicals are out of balance, it affects how we feel, which then triggers a series of physical symptoms. These include a faster heartbeat, frequent headaches, nausea, stomach aches, chest pain, back pain, muscle pain, and joint pain.
Back pain, stiff joints, and muscle aches are further symptoms of depression. This can be because of inactivity. Depression frequently manifests in losing interest in physical activity, which can result in discomfort and stiffness.
3.7. Loss of Appetite
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Another physical symptom along with sleep issues, chronic pain, and frequent headaches is the changing appetite. Our appetites and the approach we take with food can both be impacted by depression. It will kill your hunger, and make you starve to the extent you might form an Eating Disorder (ED).
It can easily make you feel as if you hate yourself and that you don’t need to feed your body as it’s pointless. It’s easy for you to feel as though you don’t deserve to eat or feel better, or that looking after your health is worthless.
A 2019 study on the connection between major depressive disorder (MDD) and eating patterns demonstrated that those with MDD had a greater rate of disordered eating than those without the condition. Someone with depression may occasionally miss or not finish their meals.
3.8. Weight Fluctuations
Mood and food are besties and can be the worst enemies. Obesity is more common among depressed people. And those who are obese are more likely to experience depression. Increased appetite, Weight gain, and weight loss without much appetite change are possible in major depressive symptoms.
Conditions like Emotional eating where you eat too much sugar or packaged foods that are declining your health causing weight gain while starving yourself because you cannot get yourself out of bed, ending up even worsening physical health and weight loss.
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In a medical setting, the term “fatigue” is used to describe feelings of low energy that are not related to daily activities. In contrast to normal fatigue, depression is frequently associated with physical symptoms of fatigue.
Although sleep issues may contribute to exhaustion, depressive fatigue is regarded to be considerably more complex than this and cannot be treated by getting more sleep or rest. Fatigue brought on by depression may be influenced by dopamine and norepinephrine dysregulation.
3.10. Psychological Symptoms
You might also encounter serious psychological symptoms if you go through a severe depressive episode. These may consist of :
3.10.1. Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and depression frequently coexist. Common Symptoms like anxiety and stress need medical attention. A major sign of anxiety can also be a sign of depression.
Them being disturbed and restless and find it difficult to eat and sleep. An extreme level of stress can cause high blood pressure and high fever.
3.10.2. Mood Disorders
This restricts an individual’s ability to function normally because your general emotional state or mood is altered or discordant with your situation. If you’re depressed, you can feel hopeless, empty, or irritated all the time, or you might experience bouts of despair interspersed with exuberant happiness.
The major categories of mood disorders include uncontrolled hypertension depression, dysthymic disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder due to a general medical condition, and substance-induced mood disorder.
3.10.3. Self-Harming and Suicidal Thoughts
Probably the worst depression symptoms. If you’re depressed, you might be tempted to self-harm to deal with your negative emotions or the voices in your head. Self-harm can be seriously destructive and can leave you feeling much worse in the long term, even though it can temporarily make you feel better.
In a depressive episode, sometimes the pain will be excruciating and you might feel hopeless to the extent that you start to consider taking your life. The intensity of these suicidal ideas may be so great that they prevent you from thinking clearly.
4. How Can You Treat Depression?
4.1. Eat Healthily:
Foods that are rich in magnesium, amino acids, omega-3 acids, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and tryptophan are perfect home remedies. Some of them are eggs, salmon, spinach, avocados, bananas, nuts, oatmeal, etc.
Taking antidepressant medications is not a sign of weakness. They can assist in resolving any neurotransmitter abnormalities in your brain that may be contributing to your depression.
Different medicines work best for different folks. Discuss your alternatives with your doctor; you may need to test out a few different kinds of medications before you find the one that works for you.
Exercising releases those much-needed happy chemicals to get your body moving. Do makes you feel good (e.g. yoga, dancing, short nature walks, and swimming).
Meditation can be magical. Practice Guided meditations. It will give you a clearer headspace.
Spend time with people you vibe with. It’s okay to ask for help.
4.6. Love Yourself:
Take proper rest and treat yourself. Journaling, taking a warm bubble bath or a cold shower (cold water helps calm down the anxiety).
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4.7. Consult a Healthcare Provider:
If you feel as though your emotions are affecting your relationships, career, social life, or other aspects of your life, if any symptoms are creating concern or difficulties with basic daily chores, it is best to consult with a doctor or mental health professional. These experts will be able to diagnose a person and explain the available treatments to them.
You don’t have to wait until your symptoms are severe to get help. Anyone who is going through a hard time, however, should get support as soon as you can.
4.8. Suicide Prevention:
If you are aware of a person who is at immediate risk of self-injury, suicidal behavior, or harm to another person, try to distract them from the dangerous thought if possible. Listen to them without judgment and do not leave them alone. Keep them at a great distance from any sharp harmful object. Call someone for help.
If you or someone you know is dealing with self-harming thoughts, call 911 or connect with a Suicide prevention helpline.
National suicide prevention lifeline
5. Everything is Going to be Okay
Depression is more than just a mental illness. Your entire existence, including your body, may be impacted. You must know that this won’t last forever, you’re not alone in this.
There are numerous options available to assist your mind and body feel well as quickly as possible. It’s crucial to keep in mind that healing is a journey and won’t always be easy.