7 Ways Depression Affects the Body
Contrary to popular belief, depression isn’t just all in your head. The effects of depression influence not only the mind and your brain chemistry – but also bodily processes that enable us to function normally every day.
Globally, the number of people who are clinically diagnosed with having a mental illness are staggering. According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages in the world – that’s 5% of the world’s population! That number has been slowly – and unfortunately – rising throughout the years. The statistics of that suffering depression and general mental illness show that 1 out of 4 people will have to undergo a neurological disorder in their lifetime. You have most likely met people with mental illness multiple times in your life and didn’t even know it.
Depression affects every person differently in severity, but ultimately, the mental and physical symptoms are relatively the same. Also, when treated early, depression is a lot easier to manage and the chronic effects won’t be as severe.
Here are the main seven effects of depression on the body.
- You sleep excessively or suffer insomnia
Excessive sleeping and chronic insomnia develop due to the fact that a mind is eternally restless. The link between sleep and depression is comprised of multiple factors: mood dictates the ability to sleep – which in turn diminishes the amount of sleep had – making you exhausted in the morning. Furthermore, depression can actually prevent you from wanting to wake up in the first place, causing your body and immune system’s strength to weaken. A warning to consider is that insomnia and poor sleep cycles can be treated with medication, but the likelihood is that you can develop an addiction to them. It is recommended for those with sleeping problems to treat their insomnia naturally in order to avoid any additional issues. Sleep dictates your body’s ability to recover and replenish energy. Without proper rest, it can be almost impossible to function properly the next day.
- Every day you wake up with little to no energy and constantly feel tired throughout the day
Your physical health takes a toll when your mental health is not in the right place. Take getting out of bed, for example. For some people, it’s just an action in their morning routine. With people suffering depression, it is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. The emotional weight of depression literally weighs them down. During the day, having no energy can also prevent someone from performing efficiently in their job and cause them to avoid participating in hobbies or sustaining relationships with others.
- Episodes of fatigue, migraines, and nausea become the norm
Depression weakens the immune system and feeds on the low energy that already comes with fatigue, making it practically impossible to function normally. Migraines and headaches are a result of the mind in a constant state of despair, hopeless, and sadness. Nausea comes from the general mental displacement and physical weakness of the body.
- You have sporadic episodes of hunger or a lack of appetite altogether
The body cannot function properly without an intake of nutrients and water. Those with depression either suffer one of the symptoms listed or alternate between them. This is due to a lack of motivation to eat or using eating as a method to further propel their negative thoughts and habits by increasing their suffering.
- Digestive and bowel movements become a concern which prevents the body from nourishing itself
Because of poor appetite or overeating, a person’s diet and a body’s ability to create energy is impacted. This physical effect is a direct translation of. If you aren’t eating, there is no energy to create energy. If everything being consumed is unhealthy, it expected that one will only experience more fatigue.
- Cramps and pain manifest in the head and chest
Never overlook a severe migraine or developing chest pain. With depression, you are also prone to anxiety and panic attacks, as well as the possibility of developing another mental illness on top of depression. Since the brain over-exhausts itself and outside factors are unique to every individual, their overall mental illness and physical symptoms can be due to the fact that they have underlying multiple mental disorders.
- There is a lack of ability to concentrate or focus on the present moment
You can get really lost in your head. Memory loss and the inability to focus or think clearly are impaired. This is detrimental because a lack of control on the mind can lead a person into making hazardous decisions, such as driving during an unstable state and accidentally or purposely hurting themselves. This pitfall can lead into spiraling emotions that drive a person deeper into dark and harmful thoughts that can possibly turn into actions, such as self-harm or suicide.