The Effects of Depression on Your Body and Mind

How does depression affect our bodies? What are the consequences of untreated depression? Learn about the effects of depression on our bodies and minds.

Effects of Depression

Depression affects each person differently. Despite this, most people affected by a depressive disorder often feel exhausted, with a constant lack of interest or no strength to cope with daily routines. Many people know the symptoms of depression, but what are the consequences of untreated depression?

The effects of depression on the body and mind

Untreated depression can end up having a very negative impact on our health and our lives. Understanding the effects of depression can be the impetus to seek help from a specialist and begin treatment. Here are some of the most common effects of untreated depressive disorder:

1- Serious health problems: the effect of depression on the brain and our behavior is well known, but this disorder also affects our physical health. In fact, pain and depression share similar neural connections in our brain. As a result, people suffering from depression may also experience aches and pains in their bodies. In addition, studies around depression have shown that this disorder increases the chances of suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, among others.

2- Effects on relationships: depression can put a strain on relationships, which can lead to isolation from friends, family and even break up with partners. Suffering from a depressive disorder not only affects the people who suffer from it, but also the people who are closest to you. Studies have shown that one of the consequences of depression is to have higher levels of distress in relationships, which makes the person feel less satisfied with their connections to others.

3- Lack of productivity: one of the consequences of untreated depression is a lack of motivation. Because of this effect of depression on the brain, many people end up feeling unable to perform their daily tasks. In fact, when depressive symptoms increase, productivity usually decreases because of the symptoms they cause.

4- Alcohol or drug abuse: The link between depression and alcohol or drug abuse is often very common. On the one hand, people who abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to suffer from depression, and on the other hand, depressed people are more likely to turn to these substances to cope with these feelings. Therefore, one of the most common consequences of untreated depression is dependence on these substances.

5- Changes in sleep patterns: One of the consequences of depression is that people end up suffering from poor sleep due to the effects of the illness on sleep quality. People with depression often experience changes in their sleep patterns due to the symptoms of the illness. In some cases, they experience an increased need for sleep (hypersomnia) and excessive energy loss despite extra hours of rest, while the most common problem is often insomnia, which is difficulty getting enough sleep.

6- Changes in weight and appetite: One of the effects of depression on the body is weight. People with untreated depressive disorders may experience an increase or decrease in appetite, resulting in weight gain or loss.

7- Chronic pain: Studies on depression have shown that many people with depressive disorders end up seeing a doctor because they experience physical pain. In fact, mood disorders can manifest themselves in physical symptoms such as back or joint pain. In addition, research has linked fibromyalgia to depression.

8- Cognitive disorders: If left untreated, depressive disorders can literally change our brain. According to data from various studies, depression can affect the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for reasoning, concentration and other executive functions. In other words, people suffering from this disorder can be affected by a constant lack of concentration.

9- Gastrointestinal problems: depression and intestinal problems are also closely linked. So much so that people suffering from a depressive disorder often experience stomach or digestive problems, i.e. symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or constipation are common. Studies suggest that one of the consequences of depression is precisely the effect it has on various organs and glands that help us absorb and digest food.

10- Migraines: Migraines are one of the most common physical symptoms of depression. This may be due to the link between low serotonin levels and migraines. Since depression is related to a person’s ability to produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters, this may influence the experience of migraines as one of the consequences of untreated depression.

11- Suicide Attempts: Not receiving treatment for a depressive disorder may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. There is a link between depression and suicide, although it is usually not recurrent.

Untreated depression has many consequences for our bodies and minds. This is why it is important to see a mental health professional if you are suffering from a depressive disorder. All of the effects of depression on the body and mind can be reduced with proper treatment.