Depression is a mental illness that affects many parts of an individual’s life. While emotional and mental effects are often expected, physical effects are also common. Here are a few to look out for.
Depression doesn’t just affect an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, but their physical well-being too. Here are some ways this occurs.
1. Sleep Patterns
One way that depression can affect us physically is with our sleep patterns. Some individuals might find that they are exhausted all the time and are constantly in need of sleep. Others might experience insomnia and struggle to get even one good night of sleep. Not getting appropriate amounts of sleep can further interact with mood and can also weaken your immune system, leading to other problems.
2. Eating Habits
Eating patterns can also be affected by depression. Some might find that they binge eat as a coping mechanism while others might find that their appetite is completely suppressed. In extreme cases, depression and eating disorders can also be linked.
3. Aches & Pains
Individuals living with depression might find that they have excessive and inexplicable aches and pains. Tension in muscles, headaches and stomach pains are not uncommon. Sometimes, it’s even complaints from these pains that can lead to medical professionals to a depression diagnosis to begin with.
4. Heart Disease
Many of the symptoms experienced with depression have similar effects on the body as those of stress. When stressed, the body’s heart rate increases and blood vessels tighten, putting the body in a prolonged state of emergency. While this doesn’t happen for everyone, this pressure on the body can eventually lead to heart disease.
5. Co-Existence With Other Diseases
Generally speaking, depression takes a toll on the body’s immune system, leaving individuals with this diagnosis more susceptible to a variety of diseases. Furthermore, some chronic illnesses can be a trigger for depression. While these aren’t guaranteed to co-exist, some common co-existing illnesses include Parkinson’s, autoimmune disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer, kidney disease, arthritis and, as previously mentioned, heart disease. If you have concerns about the possible co-existence of depression with other illnesses, it’s best to reach out to your family physician.