Mind over matter is usually used to explain people accomplishing great physical feats, like lifting cars or persevering through serious injuries. But this phrase can also be used to describe the negative effects of depression on your overall health.
Depression can affect your energy levels, sleep schedule, and even your appetite. Over time, it can degrade your mental and physical health, which only leads to further issues.
At Genesis Psychiatric Solutions with locations in McLean, Virginia, and Washington, DC, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Ifeanyi Olele provides screening, diagnosis, and treatment for depression.
If you’re struggling with depression, it’s important to open up and seek help as soon as you feel able. The sooner you receive treatment and begin working through your depression, the sooner your mind and body can heal.
Mental effects of depression
Depression is a mental illness, so the mental effects are usually brought up first. It’s a common misconception that depression just makes you sad. Depression can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of pleasure when partaking in activities
- Loss of focus or determination
- A feeling of restlessness or anxiety
- Thoughts of suicide, self harm, or risky behaviors
If left untreated, depression can begin to affect your work, social life, and relationships. This can lead to further feelings of worthlessness, regret, and guilt. You might feel like depression puts a damper on everything, leaving you hopeless at the center of it.
Physical effects of depression
Like many other mental illnesses, the symptoms of depression don’t stop at the brain. You might begin noticing physical symptoms, such as:
- Disrupted sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Changes to your weight
- Decreased interest in sex or intimacy
The longer your depression is untreated, the more it affects your physical health. Over time, depression can lead to other health issues.
Many people with depression struggle with food in some way. You might forget to eat, binge eat, or use food as a coping method. This can lead to weight fluctuation, digestive issues, and obesity.
Depression can also cause your hygiene to deteriorate. You might avoid brushing your teeth, which can lead to serious dental problems.
Stress and depression can take a toll on your cardiovascular system as well. Those with depression are at risk for heart disease and heart attacks, as well as high blood pressure. Your immune system is affected too, which increases your chances of getting sick from infection.
How treatment can help
Depression is much deadlier than we previously believed. That’s why treatment is important, especially in the early stages. The longer you struggle with depression, the more of a toll it will take on your mind and body.
The good news is that help is available, and you can take steps to overcome your depression. You have plenty of treatment options, including talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Talk therapy can give you a chance to discuss what’s on your mind, learn new coping methods, and receive guidance and empathy.
Lifestyle changes can boost your physical health and alleviate your depression symptoms, and medication can correct your brain chemistry and give you the energy to make positive changes in your life.
It can take some time to find a combination of treatments that works for you, but our team at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions is dedicated to helping you find your way.
If you’re struggling with depression, get in touch with us by calling the location closest to you, or request a consultation online.