Depression isn’t just a bad case of the blues. It’s an insidious disease that wreaks havoc on approximately 17.3 million Americans

Major depression is a condition in which a person experiences a depressed mood or loss of interest in daily activities for at least two weeks. Usually, people also experience problems with energy, sleep, eating, concentration, and self-worth. 

Depression’s effects are far-reaching. You don’t just experience difficult emotions; many people find depression takes a profound toll on their physical and mental health. The mental health specialists at Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness in Woodbridge, Virginia, offer excellent treatment for those struggling with depression. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of sadness and hopelessness, we can help you avoid or manage the complications associated with depression.

How depression affects the body

Depression is often perceived as a mental health condition, but its effects go beyond the confines of the mind. The mind and body are intimately connected, and depression disrupts this delicate equilibrium. Depression can manifest as physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. 

If you struggle with depression, you may experience appetite changes, which can lead to unintended weight gain or loss. Excessive weight gain puts you at risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Excessive weight loss can affect fertility, nutrient balance, and bone health.

People with depression often complain of unexplained aches or pain, including headaches and joint pain. Chronic pain, stress, and depression also negatively affect the immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness and feeling unwell. 

Depression suppresses your libido and makes it harder for you to become sexually aroused or have orgasms. This can cause problems and conflicts in relationships, which only exacerbates depressive symptoms. 

Poor sleep is often a symptom of depression. Lack of sleep or excessive sleep can cause your body to feel achy, fatigued, and unmotivated. Sleep is important for body repair and good health. Without it, your immune system suffers more, and you’re vulnerable to inflammation that can cause a general feeling of poor health.

In some people, depression has a negative effect on gastrointestinal health. You may have a poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, or even diarrhea and vomiting. 

If you already have a chronic health condition like high blood pressure or diabetes, depression can worsen your symptoms. Chronic illness can feel like a burden and cause you to become isolated. Depression only makes these problems feel more intense.

How depression affects your mental health

Depression doesn’t just show up now and then — it infiltrates every aspect of your daily life. The condition negatively affects your ability to function, impairing concentration and memory and hindering decision-making and productivity. 

Depression can have a serious impact on your relationships, work performance, and overall quality of life. Depression often coexists with anxiety, creating a challenging and complex mental health situation. Anxiety and depression are distinct mental health disorders, but they can share similarities and frequently occur together. 

While depression is characterized by pervasive feelings of sadness and emptiness, anxiety shows up as excessive worry and a sense of impending doom. 

The two conditions can coexist because of underlying factors like genetics, neurochemical imbalances, and environmental triggers. Moreover, depression can fuel feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem, which can intensify anxiety symptoms. 

Depression and anxiety create a vicious cycle, with each condition amplifying the other’s negative impact. 

At our office, we treat each individual with depression uniquely. And, if depression coexists with anxiety or other health problems, we help treat and manage those issues as well. We treat the whole person, not just the depressive symptoms.

Call Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness today to schedule a consultation. We can offer you the professional guidance you need, help you build a support network, and provide you with healthy coping mechanisms. Let us be part of your recovery.

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