Depression is a condition where people feel chronically sad and hopeless, and it can interfere with many normal activities. However, while depression is a mental health disorder, it still wreaks havoc on your physical well-being in numerous ways. The effects of depression on the body include fatigue, low sex drive, and more. Here are six effects of depression on the body that may appear if you or a loved one is experiencing depression.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Not getting enough shut-eye is one of the most common ways to know if you are depressed. Anything from not wanting to sleep, to sleeping too much, to waking up every few hours, or always needing a nap—any of them make your body feel like you are not fully rested while moving at a snail’s pace.
Fatigue and Headaches
Even without disruptions to your sleep patterns, the onset of fatigue and headaches can occur. Your drained energy levels can make you feel wiped out and doing anything can feel like a strain.
Weakened Immune System
Lack of sleep has often been linked to weaker immune systems, and depression only intensifies this connection. Expect to be sick more often because a body with depression can’t fight off illnesses as well as a fully healthy body. You can also expect more severe symptoms and a longer recovery time from even the simplest of sicknesses.
Changes in Appetite
For some, the first sign of depression isn’t a lack of sleep; it is the loss of interest in food, which can cause malnutrition and weight loss. Others have the opposite response: They deal with an increased desire to eat, leading to overeating, weight gain, stomach aches, and other related stomach issues.
The hormone imbalances that are directly involved with psychological symptoms can also cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract. These hormones shut down the digestive system and cause:
These symptoms can be mild to severe, and they can be frequent enough that they can be diagnosed as conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s.
Decreased Sex Drive
The problems previously stated often combine with psychological symptoms resulting in a decreased desire for normal activities. Nowhere is this more apparent than your decreased libido. Even those with an active sex life may experience a decreased desire for intimacy due to fatigue and exhaustion, physical discomforts, and emotional numbness.
The effects of depression on the body can be detrimental whether mental or physical. Depression can prevent you from performing at work, distance you from friends and family, or keep you from getting out of bed. With the right treatments, you can make a full recovery and get back to living a full and happy life. Don’t give up; there is help for those that need it.