According to the study in 2017, depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 264 million people affected. Depression is different from normal mood changes and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in life. When depression lasts for a long duration and shows moderate to severe intensity of manifestation, then it may become a serious health condition. The affected person may poorly function at work, at school, and in their family. Sometimes, depression may lead to suicide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that about 800,000 people die due to suicide annually, and it’s the second leading cause of death of people ages 15 to 29.
There are known effective treatments for mental disorders such as depression. However, 76% and 85% of people in low and middle-income countries receive no treatment for the illness. The possible barriers to an effective intervention include a lack of resources, trained health care services and the social stigma associated with depression. Another factor is an inaccurate assessment. Most individuals with depression aren’t appropriately diagnosed, and those who do are prescribed with inaccurate anti-depressants.
Proper treatment of depression is essential in maintaining the overall well-being. It’s as important as monitoring one’s weight and checking the cholesterol level of the body. When you feel depressed and feels like there’s no hope, don’t hesitate to look for help. The Jackson House offers depression treatment that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Medication Management, and Stress Management. These processes can treat the most severe forms of depression and may help the patient find joy again as it brings back to life. Furthermore, treatments for depression can be customized based on the clients’ needs.
In this article, you’ll appreciate the importance of seeking treatment for depression. Untreated individuals may experience the following adversities below:
Depression is often associated with emotional pain like crying, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness. However, research showed that depression could also manifest physical pain to suffering individuals. Here are the common physical symptoms caused by depression:
Fatigue or Consistent Lower Energy Levels: Fatigue is common to people when stressed from hard work and it’s usually accompanied by low levels of energy and feeling sluggish. Simple rest and some forms of entertainment may relieve the pain.
However, depressed-related fatigue can cause concentration problems, feelings of irritability, and apathy. The study further points out that depression may lead to non-restorative sleep, feeling sluggish even after getting a full night of rest.
Though fatigue can be attributed to viruses and infections, and it’s a challenge to discern the cause of it. One thing for sure, depressed-related fatigue is associated with symptoms of sadness, and lack of pleasure in daily activities.
Decreased Pain Tolerance: Depression and pain often co-exist when you feel you’re your nerves are on fire, and you can’t identify the real reason for pain. A 2015 study revealed the correlation between depressed people and decreased pain tolerance. The results showed the abnormal processing of stimuli in depressive disorders.
Nevertheless, research suggested that anti-depressants may help relieve depression and can act as an analgesic counteracting pain.
Back Pain and Aching Muscles: Back pain can be a symptom of psychological disorder. Research on the connection between depression and the body’s response to inflammation is still ongoing. Psychologists believed that emotional issues could cause chronic pains to a depressed person.
A 2017 study suggested that inflammation may have something to do with the neurocircuits in the brain. The brain signals are interrupted by inflammation brought by depression.
Headaches: Depressed-related headaches often occur daily and persist for a long duration. The National Headache Foundation described the pain as “tension headaches” with a feeling of a mild throbbing sensation, particularly around the eyebrows. These types of headaches can be relieved by over the counter pain medication, but it recurs regularly. Severe depression may result in chronic tension headaches. Of course, the depressed-related headache is often accompanied by feelings of sadness, irritability, and decreased energy as well.
- Eye Problems: A 2010 study in Germany showed that depression might affect a person’s eyesight. The study recruited 80 people, depressed individual’s difficulty identifying differences between black and white. The researchers found that contrast perception may explain the hazy and blurry vision of depressed people.Stomach Pain: Increased stress with the worst stomach pain may be a sign of depression. The research at Harvard Medical School showed that abdomen discomfort like cramps, bloating, and nausea may be brought by poor mental health. According to the researchers, depression can trigger the inflamed digestive system, which is often mistakenly for inflammatory bowel disease.
Furthermore, the gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because scientists have found a correlation between gut health and mental well-being. The symptoms of anxiety and depression may increase when there’s an imbalance of good bacteria in the gut system. Hence, taking probiotics and eating a balanced diet may improve someone’s mood.
- Digestive Problems: Irregular bowel scheduled like diarrhea and constipation can be uncomfortable. These symptoms can be brought by sadness, anxiety, and depression. A 2011 study suggests a connection between gastrointestinal pain to anxiety and depression.
- Depression Can Mask Other ProblemsDepression can be an early sign of an underlying medical condition that hasn’t been diagnosed. These health conditions can include thyroid disease, cancers of the lung and pancreas, heart attacks, and even adrenal disorder.
Depressed people tend to seek medical treatment when symptoms are already severe. The circumstances can mask serious health problems. For instance, depression-related back pain may be related to severe kidney disease.
Another is the pain in the stomach could be a peptic ulcer, and a depressed person tends to disregard the symptoms. When the pain persists for a long time, immediate medical check-up should be performed to find what causes it. The pain may get worst if the discomfort is ignored far longer.
The article in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease may initially show up as a psychiatric problem and later become apparent that concluded to a correct diagnosis. In the study of 30 patients with multiple sclerosis conducted at the Medical School of the University of Massachusetts, 22 of them experienced a delay in diagnosis due to the previous symptoms of major depression.
Thus, it’s essential to be aware if there are any inconsistencies in mood, anxiety, and irritability as it can be an onset of a medical disorder. These can significantly affect the whole body.
Persistent anxiety can result in a wide range of physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain. Patients with health conditions like asthma, sleep apnea, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat may have symptoms of anxiety disorder.
The worst is only a few people approaches a doctor to be diagnosed appropriately and for treatments. Furthermore, anxiety disorders in children often come as recurring stomachs and sleep disorders like teeth grinding and frequent nightmares. These problems can be avoided when parents consider natural treatments for children with depression.
Missing the proper diagnosis can be a problem that usually limits the ability of the medical practitioners to predict the causes. Some cardiologists or gastroenterologists are ill-equipped to diagnose and treat the physical symptoms related to depression.
- Self-Medicating Behavior Can Be Dangerous
Considering the challenges and difficulties experienced by a depressed person, there’s a tendency to “numb out” or find relief from the pain. Most people commonly resort to using psychoactive drugs or drinking alcohol to counter emotions, moods, consciousness, perceptions, and behaviors.
People can self-medicate by using substances for pain relief. It can be perceived as an attempt to alleviate depressive symptoms. A study found that almost 25% of subjects with mood disorders tend to find relief when using drugs or drinking alcohol. Also, it’s revealed that men have a high probability of self-medication than women.
Another study emphasized the correlation between depressed subjects to opioid abuse. The findings suggest that patients may be self-medicating affective pain with opioids. Individuals who self-medicate tend to experience substance abuse. The coexistence of depression and substance abuse disorder is called co-occurring disorders.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) reports that about 45% of Americans with substance abuse disorder were diagnosed to have co-occurring disorders. They estimated that about 8 million people have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder.
For someone struggling with depression and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, here are the common signs:
- Isolation from family and circle of friends
- An abrupt change in hobbies
- Increased sense of reactivity, anger, or irritability
- Increased secrecy to the spent time
- Becomes unhygienic like not brushing the teeth and showering
- Changes in the sleep cycle and eating habits
- Struggling to responsibilities at work, school, or home
- Experiencing financial burden due to substance abuse
These illustrate the complexity and challenges meet in treating persons with co-occurring disorders. Self-medication won’t solve the problems or alleviate the pain suffered by the depressed individual. Instead, it may lead to substance abuse and extreme addiction.
If possible, provide depression treatment immediately to counter the symptoms.
- Untreated Depression Can Lead To Suicide
Suicide is the leading national public health issue in the United States. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, there were 48, 344 recorded suicides in 2018. The average annual suicide rate has increased by 24% from 1999 to 2014.
In fact, in 2015, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death among men and the 14th leading cause among women. It’s even the second leading cause of death for young adults ages 15 to 34. Suicide occurs across economic, social, ethnic, and age boundaries.
Suicide is most commonly associated with major depression. The major depression is a disorder that causes mood disturbance. It’s more than just feeling down for a couple of days; instead, it causes a bad mood that lasts for weeks.
There’s around 20% lifetime risk among patients with untreated depressive conditions. About ⅔ of people who commit suicide are depressed during the time of their death. There’s a high risk of suicide around 20 times to people with major depression than the general population.
Ultimately, depressed individuals with multiple episodes have a higher risk of suicide than those experiencing single episodes. At worst, people with co-occurring disorders are susceptible to a high risk of suicidal tendencies. Here are the symptoms for individuals at risk of suicide:
- Extreme hopelessness
- Lack of interest to the previous pleasures
- Panic attacks
- Talk about suicide
- With history to suicidal attempts
- Irritability and agitation
- Experienced recent severe loss or threat of a significant loss
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Pre-occupied with death and dying
- Withdrawal from social interaction
- Prepare for death by making final arrangements
- Reckless and or impulsive
- Loss of interest in a personal appearance
- Natural Ways to Treat Depression
Depression can be managed through natural ways by changing the behavior and way of perception of someone through improving their physical activity and overall lifestyle. Here are some ways to naturally fight depression:
- Have A Routine: Depression can destroy the usual routines in your life. Creating constructive daily habits may help depressed people to get back on track.
- Set Goals: In order to restore the sense of purpose in life, it’s best to set some goals to make oneself push forward. Start by short-term goals that are doable like doing the dishes every other day. Consequently, add challenging goals as you achieve small tasks, and it can provide a sense of purpose.
- Exercise: The physical activity may release endorphins to alleviate stress and pain. Regular exercise may help the brain in many positive ways. You can start by doing easy exercises, and as you feel much better, you can take on some more challenging exercises. This can be a significant part of a routine as well.
- Consume Healthy Foods: Depression may cause someone to overeat. It’s essential to avoid the habit and control what you intake. Consume foods that are beneficial not just for mental health but also for the overall health and well being as feeling good correlates with feeling optimistic.
- Get Enough Sleep: It’s hard for depressed people to get sufficient sleep. Having enough sleep can be achieved by making changes to your lifestyle. For instance, going and getting up to bed at the same time every day, and avoiding distractions that will make you stay up late can improve the amount of sleep you get every day.
It’s a mistake when people tend to wait for depression to subside on its own without treatment. Studies have found that the worst symptoms may arise when depression is taken for granted. The longer it lurks within the system, the harder it is for the treatment process.
The tips mentioned above about natural ways to fight depression may reduce the onset of symptoms of the individuals who are depressed. Those methods are free and only requires support and personal commitment
Don’t hesitate to ask for help when things are unmanageable. Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional because the sooner you get help, the better your chances for managing what you’re feeling.