13 Reasons Why Depression Is Negatively Affecting You

By Michael Puskar

Updated May 26, 2020

Reviewer Melinda Santa

The effects of depression can be chronic, but they can also be immediate. Some people notice various symptoms right from the beginning and feel that their quality of life has diminished in a very short period of time. This article will discuss some of the most common ways that depression can harm your well-being, especially if left untreated.

The Effects Of Depression Can Be Chronic, But They Don't Have To Be Permanent
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1. Persistent Sadness

Depression can be caused by specific events; however, many people with the condition can feel down and hopeless for no particular reason at all and can be the catalyst for a number of issues that will be discussed here.

The sense of despair can potentially never go away with time, which can indicate an issue regarding brain chemistry. Some chemical neurotransmitters that are involved with mood are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

With antidepressants to address any chemical imbalances, along with therapy and lifestyle changes, people can notice significant improvements in their mood.

2. Low Motivation

Related to mood issues, motivation can be one of the first things that depression attacks, and it is also one of the most noticeable, both to the individual and to others.

People may ask themselves, "what's the point?" or similar phrases and lose the drive to go to school or work. Getting out of bed, starting the day, and carrying out other routine tasks can also feel like a chore, affecting one's productivity overall.

This can cause people to run late to important engagements or skip them entirely, which may have consequences, like being let go from a job.

3. Difficulty Concentrating

Once a person with depression manages to get to work or school, they might struggle to stay focused in class or while performing tasks at work.

They may also become prone to forgetting details, which can lead to decreased academic and job performance.

However, concentration issues is not a symptom that is exclusive to depression and other conditions such as ADHD. When combined with other signs like in this list though, depression may be the culprit for this problem.

4. Becoming Withdrawn

Depression can often make even the most outgoing people anti-social and not want to spend time with others, including those close to them.

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Unfortunately, reclusiveness can negatively affect peoples' relationships with others by making them feel pushed away. They may also eventually stop trying to reach out to you if their efforts have no effect.

While bonding with others may not seem desirable for the time being, isolation is also unhealthy and can make symptoms worse.

5. Lack of Interest In Hobbies

Similar to the previous section, people who are depressed may notice that they do not enjoy their favorite activities like they used to.

In some cases, this can be harmful to their physical health. For example, if a fairly active person becomes depressed and stops exercising, he or she may gain unwanted weight and lose overall fitness.

Old hobbies that were once fun may seem unappealing during a depressive episode; however, it is possible to regain interest in them after starting treatment such as antidepressants and counseling.

6. Poor Sleep Habits

While others struggle to leave their bed, there are people with depression who have an extremely hard time falling asleep.

Some may also have issues with both depression and oversleep because they stayed up too late unable to sleep.

It is estimated that approximately 75 to 80 percent of depressed patients have insomnia and have difficulties initiating sleep, which is detrimental to both physical and mental health. A lack of sleep over a prolonged period of time can also increase the risk of suicide. [1]

7. Daytime Sleepiness & Fatigue

Although a lack of sleep from being awake too late can undoubtedly cause tiredness, those who are depressed may still feel sleepy even with enough rest.

The Effects Of Depression Can Be Chronic, But They Don't Have To Be Permanent
Speak With A Professional Counselor Online

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Experiencing excessive sleepiness during the day, also known as hypersomnia, is a symptom of depression that people can face on a daily basis.

Not only can hypersomnia make people sluggish and unproductive, but it is also dangerous and is a major cause of automobile accidents.

8. Appetite and Weight Changes

Depression is a condition that can either increase one's appetite or decrease it, leading to unintentional weight gain or loss.

The difference is believed to lie within the reward pathways in the brain. For those who overeat, brain activity is increased when exposed to food or thoughts of it. [2] This puts the individual at high-risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Conversely, those who lose their appetite do not have this stimulation to food and can end up losing weight, sometimes at a drastic rate.

9. Unexplainable Aches and Pains

When people think of depression, they often refer to the mental symptoms of it; however, bodily pain and discomfort can also be a notable symptom of the condition and can be very debilitating. These symptoms can also be unresponsive to treatments such as pain relievers.

Unfortunately, if a patient visits a doctor and only explains that they have muscle and joint pain and frequent headaches, depression will probably not be the first thing that comes to the doctor's mind.

Situations like these make depression overlooked and under-diagnosed in those who primarily have physical symptoms. [3]

10. Chronic Digestive Issues

Like the previous section, digestive problems are physical symptoms of depression that a patient might visit a doctor for, but might not necessarily receive a diagnosis of clinical depression.

Through the gut-microbiome-brain axis, your brain and stomach are connected and send signals to one another, and in times of stress, the entire gastrointestinal tract may experience serious difficulties. [4]

Thankfully, by fighting depression and reducing stress, many people see drastic improvements in their condition.

11. Low Libido

Similar to how people lose motivation and do not find certain activities fun anymore, people who are depressed often report that their sex drive is not what it used to be.

This can cause frustration to not only the individual but his or her partner as well, leading to potential long-term relationship issues.

Therefore, communicating about depression will be important to address or prevent any conflicts that you may run into if you are experiencing low libido.

12. Increased Irritability

Because of depression's effect on people's mood, it is also common for people to feel short-tempered and easily irritation on top of any feelings of sadness.

Although it can be unintentional, irritability and brashness can come off the wrong way to strangers and even strain relationships between close friends, family, and significant others. This is especially true if loved ones are not aware of one's depression.

Like the issue with libido, discussing your depression with those close to you can hopefully make them more understanding and not take things personally.

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13. Suicidal Ideation

The most concerning aspect of depression is its association with suicide. While most people with depression do not take commit suicide, it does increase the risk of it happening.

Although a person may not choose to kill themselves, they still may have thoughts of it which can be distressing and can also lead to some of the symptoms listed earlier, such as having trouble concentrating and becoming isolated.

Statistics show that around 60 percent of people who took their own lives experienced a mood disorder, such as depression. Men are also more likely than women to commit suicide, and younger people who do so may also struggle with substance abuse. [5]

Conclusion

Depression affects everyone differently, but this article listed out 13 reasons why depression can be damaging your health and well-being, and there is a good chance that you or someone close to you has been experiencing several of these signs.

Fortunately, all of them are treatable and eventually will not be a burden on your life anymore. Antidepressants can be prescribed from your doctor and are designed to address the chemical side of depression, but many people find even better outcomes when combined with therapy and lifestyle changes.

Some people may also be hesitant to try medication and only opt for counseling to get their life back on track.

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At BetterHelp.com, licensed and professional counselors and therapists that specialize in treating those with depression are available online at your convenience. Finding one that can assist you during your hardest times is not only easy but also affordable as well, especially in comparison to in-person sessions. This is particularly helpful to those who may be depressed due to financial reasons.

Fighting depression will take some initiative and action on your part, but you will be glad you did. To learn more about the condition, BetterHelp offers many articles like this one that aims to educate everyone about mental illness and discuss what treatment options are available. Depression may be a hindrance to you or a loved one right now, but it does not have to be in the future with the right approach.

References

  1. Nutt, D., Wilson, S., & Paterson, L. (2008). Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 10(3), 329-336.
  1. Simmons, W. K., Burrows, K., Avery, J. A., Kerr, K. L., Bodurka, J., Savage, C. R., & Drevets, W. C. (2016). Depression-Related Increases and Decreases in Appetite: Dissociable Patterns of Aberrant Activity in Reward and Interoceptive Neurocircuitry. American Journal of Psychiatry, 173(4), 418-428.doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020162
  1. Trivedi, M. H. (2004). The Link Between Depression and Physical Symptoms. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6(Suppl1), 12-16.
  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). The gut-brain connection. Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
  1. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. (2015, August 21). Does depression increase the risk for suicide? Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/does- depression-increase-risk-of-suicide/index.html

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