Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How Depression Is a Physical and Mental Challenge

Depression has become the most common form of disease on the planet, with an estimated 350 million people around the globe suffering from clinical depression. 

Within the United States, alone, about 16 million American adults suffer from a major depressive episode, every year. Risk of depression also increases greatly into the senior years.

Depression is a mental illness that goes beyond just mental aspects, especially as we age. It is a condition that is far from just “in your head.” 

The effects that we see of depression often qualify as physical. For many of us after the age of 50, medical bills qualify as a major expense, and a leading cause of bankruptcy. 

Learning how to effectively counter and treat depression can help you manage health bills in a much better way. 

Here are some of the ways that depression is a physical challenge, as much as a mental one...

The mental effects feed the physical

The reason that there are intense physical effects of depression is because the mental effects of depression tend to have a physical impact. 

When a person engages in troubling behavior because of their depression, it is liable to impact their health in a negative way, which makes the mental effects of depression even worse. 

In this way, depression functions as a cycle that perpetuates itself.

Triggers problematic behavior

The mental aspects of depression are factors that can impact behavior, often in a troubling way. This means that people who are depressed will often engage in problematic or damaging behavior that they might otherwise not partake in. 

One of the most common ways this happens is in drug use, which is commonly triggered by depression. It is far too common that people who struggle from substance abuse began on that path by attempting to self medicate with drugs or alcohol when they were in the midst of a depressive episode. 

Aside from substance abuse, depressed individuals also tend to engage in other destructive behavior, such as sex addiction.

Connection to psoriatic arthritis

In 2017, a study found that there was a close connection between clinical depression (as well as generalized anxiety disorder) and psoriatic arthritis, which is a type of arthritis that people who also suffer from psoriasis, which is a skin-disorder that causes rashes and blotchy skin. 

This study, published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that there was a mind-body connection between individuals who suffered from psoriasis.

In the past, people believed that cases of psoriasis led to people developing depression, but it turns out that it can happen the other way as well, where people develop depression and then psoriasis, due to their depression. 

A major reason for this is that depression can impact inflammation, which leads to psoriasis. For this reason, people with depression have a higher risk of developing arthritis.

Tie to weight gain

When a person is feeling depressed, it can feel pointless to do anything productive. For this reason, people’s activity levels decrease when they are experiencing depression. 

This causes a cycle where people with depression produce less dopamine, which makes them feel even worse. 

During this mental cycle, it is common for people to struggle with weight gain, as they are burning less calories and probably have unhealthy eating habits (such as binge eating).

Decreased sex drive

As stated above, some people who suffer from depression will engage in risky sexual behaviors as a means to cope with their mental state. 

However, it is also common for people in relationships who are depressed to experience a major decrease in sex drive. This decrease in sex drive can also be matched with avoiding hygienic behaviors. 

When this happens, it can make an individual even more depressed, which makes it a continuous cycle that they must struggle to get out of.

Link to insomnia

Sleeping habits are also affected by depression, and it is liable that a person who suffers from depression will also struggle with cases of insomnia, which means that they will feel even more tired and fatigued throughout the day. 

Even if they do get enough sleep throughout the day, people who suffer from depression often have a hard time getting into a deep sleep, even when they are oversleeping, which means that their sleep isn’t actually recharging their body.

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