Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Depression Hurts–I Mean, Physically

posted by Beyond Blue

I recently read an interview with Dr. Paul McClelland, a psychiatrist at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore about the serious physical changes in the body and brain that can be a result of depression. These conditions or complications are among them:
1. Anorexia. Many depressed patients also have eating disorders which can cause irreversible kidney damage and other complications.
2. Self-harm. Self-inflicted wounds can cause several complications.
3. Noncompliance with treatment. Depressives sometimes do not comply with a doctor’s medication or treatment plan, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.
4. Self-neglect. If a depressive doesn’t have the energy, for example, to get her annual mammogram, she could be at risk for a disease like breast cancer advancing much more quickly than had she taken the necessary precautions.
5. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. As I mentioned in my latest Britney article, persons with mental illness often self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to create the state of well-being that non-depressives experience on a regular basis. Habitual drinking or drugging, however, strengthens the habit, which aggravates the mood disorder, making this a viscous cycle.
6. Profound insomnia. Insomnia can trigger depression and vice versa because when a person’s sleep is disrupted, that causes changes in the body’s internal biological clock, known as circadian rhythm. This rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that affects our eating and sleeping patterns, brain wave activity, hormone production, and other biological activities.
7. Weak immune systems. When people are very depressed their immune system often doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. And with a weakened immune system, people are more prone to infections and cancer.
8. Heart disease. When people are severely depressed, they sometimes are more prone to blood clotting, through the adherence of platelets. This could explain why people who experience depression after a heart attack or stroke have a worse prognosis than non-depressed people. They are more likely to have subsequent heart attacks and strokes.



  • Babs

    Don’t leave overeating, another form of self-medicating, off the list.
    We all know the innumerable ailments caused by obesity.

  • Cully

    re: “5. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. As I mentioned in my latest Britney article, persons with mental illness often self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to create the state of well-being that non-depressives experience on a regular basis. Habitual drinking or drugging, however, strengthens the habit, which aggravates the mood disorder, making this a viscous cycle.”
    Speaking of Britney (again/still)… wouldn’t it be nice if she had someone in her life that would NOT gasp at the possiblity of her loosing her boys and instead tell her that they will “baby sit” (for however long) while she gets better. Can’t anyone around her see how terrifying it is to be told you will loose your children? Why does she have to loose her kids… she’s not a criminal – she’s sick and lost her way. With help she can come back, and she will be better than she ever was before.
    Cully

  • Larry Parker

    Don’t like how drug companies like Eli Lilly make this into a cheap slogan, though.
    I’m sure Cymbalta helps some people — even many people — but ultimately it’s just Prozac with a couple of molecules changed to extend the patent.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    “Those ads have always bothered me, too, larry. Somehow, they seem to give the impression to the less-aware public that physical painfrom other diseases and depression-caused pain are ALWAYS one and the same; they AREN’T! tHE Absolute WORST pain I’ve ever suffered (Including an abcessed tooth and the subsequent root canal, gall bladder surgery and any other physical problem i’ve lived through during my nearly sixty(Can thatBE?)years on this planet,pale in comparison to the constand pain I deal with now because my left limbs cannot wotk properly causing their joints to malfunction. As I posted once before, want to see a homocidal redhead? JustTRY to take away mt pain meds! Sure, my emotional pain from depression hurts, but it’s not the honest -to-goodness-AGONY of chronic joint pain, AND THERE’S NO ECSTACY TO LEVEL IT OUT, EITHER!(Sorry, couldn’t resist the opportunity for the play on words. My Vicodin affords me no “high”, as some experience; merely a few moments of reprieve.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, Cully, that *is* optimistic, to make such predictions or assertions? about someone one doesn’t know, personally. One can hardly maintain such, about one’s personal self, IMO.
    I am certainly not better than ever before, though deemed cured, but I am *different.* The person I was pre illness isn’t around any longer, but she’s the one who succumbed to abject misery, for such a protracted time. I don’t miss her all that much, though I am still familiarising myself the person who has emerged post personal earthquake, to take her place. I also feel differently about so many things. Do I feel grateful? Yes!
    In my experience, depression was as physical as it was mental. I experienced generalised malaise, a variety of physical symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, had practically no energy and was unwilling to waste what little I was capable of summoning. It was practically all I could manage to feed my cats.
    My self-care was less than minimal, my home a wreck, and I *looked* the part. I couldn’t bear even a glance towards a mirror because I felt so afraid and repelled over the glaring changes which confronted me.

  • Giliana

    Posted by me, above.

  • Anonymous

    gilliana i know the felling i to feel like a knew person with treatment ,but i still have the pain from the arthritis only now they dont want to give me much for it because of the suicidal tendancys.and some times i dont know what to do with the changes i have made.but i do get more done.so i think depression and pain go hand in hand.you have one you have some form of the other.

  • Cully

    re: “Ah, Cully, that *is* optimistic, to make such predictions or assertions? about someone one doesn’t know, personally. One can hardly maintain such, about one’s personal self, IMO.”
    What?
    Cully

  • Giliana

    What? In reference to your comment that Spears will “come back better than ever,” Cully.
    I agree with the 3:50 p.m. reply. It’s tricky to switch horses when considerably more than half-way through the race!

  • Jenny

    This information is all very true. Remember when it used to be said that “It’s all in your head!”?, and that is partly true, isn’t it? What is in our head, or shall I say going on inside of our head has a definite impact on our physical body. Now the connection has been made and treated in the best way possible. Anxiety did not used to be recognized as a partner accompanying depression, and so the individual still had that to cope with. Thank goodness medical science has evolved to the point where the person is treated wholly instead of partially. At least now when you see the doctor with aches and pains, he will ask about the stresses in your life or any changes that may be the underlying cause of the pain. Depression really does hurt, and in more ways than one.

  • Steve C.

    “Fatigue (a.k.a. low energy) makes cowards of us all” – Vince Lombardi
    “the body’s internal biological clock, known as circadian rhythm. This rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that affects our eating and sleeping patterns, brain wave activity, hormone production, and other biological activities.” The circadian rhythm is a constant part of our daily lives. Almost everyone has energy levels that rise and fall during a 24 hour period. That’s why coffee, energy bars, and “Jolt Cola” are so popular. They smooth out the ups and downs of our energy level during our waking hours. We are much better able to cope with pain and emotions when our energy level is high.
    WiseSteven

  • joanna

    You have chronic pain
    you have depression
    and its all in your head
    now that is depressing

  • Cully

    wow… thanks Steve. I never knew what our bio clock was really called. And, I liked the quote from Lombardi.
    Blessings,
    Cully

  • Lynne

    So my ciradian rythym is fishimmeled, my brain waves are bouncing off the wall, it helps to give a name to it. That makes it real. Somehow that validates this messterpiece I am! Oh brother, where art I? Somewhere in this halfvast universe is truth, or a reasonable facsimile. Just smile and sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Love and Laughter to all!

  • Richard McCoy

    It has only been in the last few years that I admitted that I had depression. When I found myself focused on suicide I decided that I had better reconsider. I had been in denial for the previous forty-nine years. (I am really GOOD at denial!) But more to the point, it all hurts. Depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation; all of it makes life miserable. Rhetorical question coming: Have you ever noticed how much an anxiety/panic attack feels like a heart attack? Had my one heart attack two years after admitting that I had a depression problem.
    Short of being in a coma, I am currently living about as a low key lifestyle as possible. But there are times when I am walking down the hall and have to stop to regain control of my breathing and heart rate. There seems to be sort of a cross over from depression to cardio- events and I would like to avoid the latter.
    I am new to this website and still wandering around from place to place, but I am very glad to have found it.

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