Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


What Depression Does To Your Body

posted by Beyond Blue

human body.jpg
Most people don’t think depression affects any other organ besides the brain. However, recent studies are finding that depression affects a host of other disorders. Among the conditions are these, just posted from a Johns Hopkins newsletter that I subscribe to:
* Headache. Chronic headaches, particularly tension headaches, occur frequently in people with depression and anxiety. They’re most likely caused by contracting the muscles of the scalp and neck, a common physical reaction when you’re under emotional stress.
* Diarrhea and constipation. Anxiety is often linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can manifest itself as diarrhea or constipation. Some experts estimate that 60% of people with IBS have a mental health disorder, and about 60% of those have generalized anxiety disorder. It’s possible that anxiety may make you more aware of spasms in your colon or that anxiety affects the immune system and may trigger symptoms of IBS.
* Nausea and vomiting. Nausea (as well as vomiting) may be considered a symptom of mood disorders. One large study found that 41% of people who had major complaints of nausea in the past year were then diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and 24% were diagnosed with depression.
* Heart disease. People who become depressed after a heart attack are at increased risk for a second, fatal heart attack, while people without heart disease who become depressed increase their risk of developing or dying of heart disease. The heart-mind link may also include anxiety, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation, and behavioral issues, as people who are anxious or depressed are less likely to engage in heart-healthy activities like exercising and healthy eating and more prone to weight issues and smoking.
* Osteoporosis. People with major depression often have lower bone mineral density, a measure of the strength of your bones, than those with no mood disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are associated with increased fracture risk, but there’s growing evidence that depression itself may put bones at risk. One theory is that depression may cause increased levels of a neurotransmitter that interferes with bone building.
* High blood pressure. Evidence suggests that chronic anxiety may lead to high blood pressure. Anxiety is likely to produce temporary spikes in blood pressure rather than persistent hypertension. Frequent spikes can damage your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys and increase your risk of a stroke.
Illustration by Faqs.org.

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  • http://chipur.com Bill

    Excellent article, Therese. I’m so glad to read a piece that focuses upon the body. I’ve been doing more and more research into how an overworked HPA axis (end products – cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine) absolutely wreaks havoc on our bodies. This, with both a personal and professional interest. And then there’s the insulin cycling dynamics that lead to frustrating and self-esteem pounding carb-cravings. Gosh, there’s so much more. Thank you for keeping this issue in the fore.

  • Kate

    Depreesion! Anyone that truely has depression knows that it affects the body. I can relate to it all. I have no reason to be depressed, but I am. I’ve suffered from it for over 12 years now, and probably much longer than that. I also have Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroid, pre-diabetic, osteopenia (although I’ve broken two bones in the last few years)and I’m a cancer survivor. My life should be good, as I don’t have the stressors I had before. But I hate going places, I have things I should be doing (ie: cleaning)but I don’t have the energy. Instead, I’m going back to bed; it’s where I spend most of my time. I’m in my mid-fifties and I am not living; I’m waiting to die. Death would be so much easier then living with depression. Family don’t really understand. I feel alone with my disease.

  • Karen

    Kate, I can really sympathize with all you are saying. I sometimes feel that I am just waiting to die. I too have Fibromyalgia (for about 18 years now), and I’m pre-diabetic. I have not broken any bones but have had shoulder and hand surgery and a complete hysterectomy. My husband has done his best to keep me moving; he makes me angry when he does, but I know he is right when he does. I spend a lot of time in bed when I should be walking or exercising; it just seems easier sometimes. I have recently estranged myself from my youngest daughter due to her having some serious mental problems that she will not admit. I’m not sure that the stress before or after that move was worse.
    If you are not on an anti-depressant, you probably should be. You might not have to be on it forever, but it will really help get you over the tough time. Find a good therapist to talk with when you can. Everyone should probably see a therapist at times even if they think they don’t need it. People who have no problems with their lives really upset me; they are not usually an understanding group of people.
    Good luck with your depression, Kate. And get some help.

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    Ugg boots, Woolly feet, Oz Outback boots or whatever your preferred nickname meant for Ugg Boots, UGG Australia sale,there’s no doubting that Uggs are the hottest fad in teenager and mature taste. You’ll likely end up in them more than your most well liked pair of skirts, your funkiest hoodie and especially your worn smelly runners! Be warned though that once you decide to ugg you may never wear any of your other shoes again as they are just so comfortable.
    So if you’ve been living the life of a recluse and haven’t yet come across the Ugg madness,sheepskin boots, here’s a lowdown on what this brand new method of footwear is all about and why it is proving to be so incredibly much in demand with childish and old both.
    Australian’s have been wearing sheepskin ugg boots since the Pommes’s cast them from the prison transports to create their brand new country. Ugg’s are so widespread in Oz that attempts to copyright the expression Ugg Boots failed as it was a form of a kind of riding boot and not a exclusive invention.
    Aussie’s love the out back, and despite the temperature of the Australian wilderness, there are masses of times of the year, and sites in Australia when the heat of 100% sheepskin is a certain plus in the nation down under. Popular with the surfing girls and boys, the sight of a couple of Uggs appearing from the side of a VW combi has been gracing the shores of Bell’s Beach since the 60’s. It was just a brief journey across the Pacific from Aussie surf wear to Hollywood sheik-wear with female household name’s getting their women’s Uggs on such as Pam Anderson, and magazine’s like Marie Clare, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan featuring household name stars and starlets strutting the most up-to-date in sheepskin ugg moon boot vogue. In modern times men’s ugg boots have come into the fray and are frequently to be seen in the mansions and on the side walks of Los Angeles, New York and London.
    Ask your typical Australian and they’ll tell you in relation to the brace of Uggs they had in their adolescent years,ugg slippers, but question the typical US or UK teenager, and they’ll *put on view* you the pair of Uggs they are wearing this week. Typically on behalf of women it will be a couple of women’s tall Uggs in endlessly fashionable classic variety – you simply can’t beat classic styling.
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  • Deb

    Hi Kate, I understand completely about what you are going through. I have been in my “second” depression since 1995, and at times it is still relentless. It feels like you have a giant holding you under the water and you cannot catch your breath. I also have PTSD, anxiety disorder, two major back surgeries, knee surgery, and a host of other problems. Once you have your second depression you must take anti-depressants for the rest of your life. The fight or flight response has been used so much that it no longer exists, and your body cannot naturally provide the chemicals you need to survive emotionally. When I found out I would have to live on anti-depressants for life I was even more devasted. Unless someone has been through this illness it is extremely hard for them to relate, no matter how hard you try to explain. Someone telling you to hang in there doesn’t really offer any encouragement. I hope you are seeking medical help such as a therapist and anti-depressants. It doesn’t take it away, but it allows you to get through it. I wish I could tell you tomorrow will be better, but I can’t. I too, feel like I am waiting to die. What we do each day is not living. I don’t like to go out, the house is a mess. The only thing I do on an everyday basis is take care of my three adorable dogs and take a shower everyday. I go to a cognitive behavior psychologist once a week, and she is a true blessing. My prayers are with you, Kate.

  • Mike Traylor

    Please Kate, do not feel alone. I am a fifty-year-old male who has suffered with depression for more than 2 decades. Many doctors. I understand completely that you feel isolated, but people that are not depressed cannot grasp where you are coming from. Our generation did not complain about mental issues but more likely hid them away.
    I know that I’m not ur family member but I would gladly give you my email address, if you wanted someone to talk to from time to time.
    Don’t give up, my depression is under control after many years.

  • Steve

    I used to think , Hey you are depressed snap out of it!
    They should actually come up with a new word for clinical depression. Everyone gets “depressed” from time to time it is a normal part of life.
    Clinical depression is not a normal part of life and is completely debilitating. I struggled for years before any doctors figured out what was wrong with me. Fortunately there are medications that can make life bearable. Real Depression is not even understood by the majority of medical professionals, let alone the public at large.
    I have lost friends of 25 years and had relationships ruined before anyone could even tell me what the problem was. I am bipolar which leads to the most severe form of depression. This disease needs more attention paid to it, as it destroys the lives of those suffering.

  • Dee

    Hi,
    I didn’t see the comment from Kate, but I just want you to know you are not alone, you have a support system in us… I will give my email as well if you would like it.
    I am 44 yrs old, have been diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, and OCD. I have been dealing with this for most of my life i just didn’t know it until I started hearing voices and having homocidal thoughts and suicide began to look increasingly good to me…. I got scared, and my husband took me to a doctor i trusted, he diagnosed the depression… I found a therapist and I thank God for his care and leading me to this therapist because i don’t know what would have happened otherwise. You can’t just snap out of it and I HATE when someone says that to me, i go off on them totally…. it’s something that takes talk therapy and medications and time…. im not healed, or cured…. it’s an ongoing process but I will tell you this…. if you don’t see a therapist pls… do. It is hard but the benefits are enormous and soo life changing. Hugs to you honey, and too all of you who have responded…. and it’s true that unless you go through this hell, you don’t have a clue what it’s like.
    love, light, and God Bless
    Dee

  • Pegofmar1

    Dee, to see all of the comments you need to click on “Read All Comments” where you will find Kate’s post. God bless you.

  • morgan painter

    I suffered a depression almost immediately after learning Vietnam fell to the North commies. I distinctly remember the anger and then the numbness. I slogged through life like a zombie, forcing myself to function on a minimal level. It was only due to the fierce anger I felt that I was able to keep functioning. I suspect the adrenaline helped me to continue. But it was a roller coaster ride. My mood was up, down, up, down. My job at the time was very physical so I think that substituted as exercise of a sort.
    When John Wayne died, I had a terrible down streak. Had I known more about depression I would have caught it then. It took me almost a week of forcing myself to go to work and mow the yard, etc. I had to mentally psyche myself into doing anything. I had a good childhood but one that was saturated with the teaching of “tough it out”. “Shoulder to the wheel”, “never give up”.
    Almost twenty years after my first depression, my father died at Christmas, a special holiday for my family for as long as I can remember. I was numb. No anger, no tears, just numb. I felt as though I was walking through a bad dream. About a month later I was fed up with being a zombie and went for professional help. After three different medications gave me side effects worse than the depression I went online seeking help to wean myself off the stuff. Side effects varied from aching joints, paranoia(I was afraid to drive my car), impotence, dizziness, and shakiness.
    I got mad when the psychologist told me, “Just give it more time.” I had told him I was about to walk in front of a bus and he tells me to be patient. Daggum!
    I started taking music lessons, exercising, and St. John’s Wort. Slowly, steadily, I managed to begin feeling like a human again. I now deal with setbacks fairly well and have no deep down spells like before. I am still not as I was before the depression, but the doc warned me that would be the case even with medications. So, at least in my experience I could not tolerate the meds and the other measures I pursued were as good as the meds without the side effects.
    I concede that my plan may not work for everyone, but I highly recommend people try it first. If it doesn’t work then by all means seek professional help, but I think it wise to avoid the side effects if possible.
    Good luck to all, this is a nasty thing to have to deal with.

  • http://www.blood-pressure-monitoring.org Jal S

    I would just like to clarify that depression and stress do not cause high blood pressure but the lifestyle choices associated with them – poor diet, lack of exercise etc do.

  • Pamela Bell

    If anyone has worked successfully then not able to work any longer,there is such a feeling of being helpless and useless.That is not so but nevertheless that is how you feel. Remember God only gives you what he thinks you can handle. In my case I think he overestimated me,but I try to remember there is always someone worse off than you are.Count your blessings and thank God for being alive and think of what you have not what you don’t have and ask God for his help. Talking to someone helps. Most of the time people just need to know they are not the only one that feels this way.Depression can take hold of your mind, body, emotions, it can be very scary. Try to get help, you are not alone,remember God loves you. God Bless

  • http://www.constipationopia.com Wan

    One of the top ten things doctors wish we could do, apart from regular physical checkups, is to reduce stress. Stress can cause the brain to command certain organs to slow down. That’s why a change in daily routine can cause constipation, for example. Depression is much more difficult to cope with than stress. Apart from clinical depression, there is also depression caused be evil acts such as sexual abuse, it is no wonder this bring about all the sicknesses listed above. I sympathize folks who struggle with physical health due to depression.

  • http://www.meditate.com.au Alan Hewitt

    Depression is one of many symptoms of a person being over their threshold for how much stress they can handle in their lives. The best way to increase this threshold is via Holosync meditation.

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