View Full Version : How Depression Hurts Your Health

24th June 2011, 06:21 AM
It’s bad enough that you feel tired, listless and blue. But do you know how depression hurts your body? From lowered immunity to headaches and heart troubles, read on to discover 10 effects of depression on your health. Plus, learn common symptoms of the disorder and take our quiz to see if you’re depressed…

The effects of depression aren’t just in your head.

“Emotions impact your physical health,” says cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of New York University Women’s Heart Program, and author of The Complete Guide to Women’s Health (Ballantine Books).

They disrupt your sleep and rob your sex drive. Depression also takes a toll on your ticker.

But that’s not all. Read on to learn 10 surprising ways depression hurts your health.

1. Sick and Sad
Chronic depression can lower your immunity. The result? You get sick more often.

“You may see a higher incidence of colds or infections,” says Kate Muller, Psy.D., director of the cognitive behavior therapy program at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y.

In a 2009 Stanford University study, depressed women with breast cancer had much higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and almost half the immune response of cancer patients who weren’t blue.

Mood booster: Exercise and stress reduction are key to a healthy immune system.

Exercise 30 minutes at least three days a week, Muller says. And when you’re under pressure, she suggests this de-stressing exercise:

1. Sit in a chair, imagining you’re a robot, tensing all of your muscles. Hold for a count of three.

2. Then imagine you are a ragdoll and release muscles for a count of three.

3. Repeat twice.

2. Ticker Troubles
Depression often increases levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, which also boost blood pressure and heart rate, Goldberg says.

Plus, “higher cortisol levels make arteries more vulnerable to plaque build-up,” she explains. As fatty plaque deposits clog arteries, they block blood. All are prescriptions for heart attack and stroke.

Mood booster: To relax, try mindful listening, suggests Muller.

“Select a favorite song or type of music. Close your eyes and listen ‘mindfully,’ picturing each instrument or even imagining each note moving past you,” she says.

This is also an excellent distraction from depressing thoughts, she says.

3. Diet Damage
Melancholy and bad eating are common partners. You nibble too little or gobble too much.

For some people, “the body tends to go into starvation mode,” Muller says. “It shuts down to conserve resources.”

But others pig out. That’s because food is comforting and “eating is a self-soothing or coping behavior,” Muller says.

Mood booster: If your appetite has vanished, munch on something small and healthy – such as veggies, fruit or nuts – every three hours, Muller advises.

“Eating at regular intervals re-regulates your appetite,” she says. “It’s like jumpstarting your body.”

If overeating is the problem, find another soothing activity, especially one that occupies your hands, like knitting, she suggests.

4. Sex Sapper
Hopelessness doesn’t feel sexy – and neither do you when you’re blue. Depressed people have low levels of serotonin (a feel-good brain chemical). That also dampens desire.

Plus, when the body is stressed, whatever isn't necessary for survival – like sexual desire – becomes a luxury, says Muller.

Mood booster: You can’t recharge your libido without treating depression, says Muller.

Unfortunately, many antidepressants also suppress sexual appetite. But some solutions won’t smother the sizzle.

Some antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin), don’t squash desire, says Tracy Latz, M.D., an integrative psychiatrist and co-author of Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation (Morgan James Publishing).

Other options:

* Buspirone (Buspar), an anxiety medication that raises the effectiveness of antidepressants, so you can take a lower dose.

* Fish-oil capsules, which reduce anxiety. Their omega-3 fatty acids may have an indirect calming effect on the brain, Latz says. Start with one 200-250-milligram capsules daily for a week, increase to three, if necessary. “If you have no response after 10 days, it’s probably not going to work,” she says.

5. Energy Zapper
When you’re depressed, just getting off the couch requires a huge effort. Why?

It may that the body is conserving resources and “often, the person isn’t doing enough to recharge,” Muller says.

Mood booster: Find activities that make you happy and feel productive, she says.

Even simple tasks like washing the dishes, clearing clutter or shopping for a special meal “can have a big effect on energy level,” says Muller.

Seek out other small pleasures too, like spending time with friends or renting a chick flick. It’s OK to pamper yourself.

6. Sleep Saboteur
Depression disrupts sleep patterns. People either get too little or too much.

Some stay awake all night because their body “isn’t getting cues it needs to sleep,” says Barbara E. Ensor, Ph.D., a psychologist at Stella Marin, a long-term care facility in Timonum, Md.

Others react by sleeping most of the time.

That's because depressed people often feel abandoned by the world, says Ensor. “Negative thinking kicks in," she says. They think, “I’m going to get in bed and pull the covers up.”

Mood booster: Oversleeping? Don’t allow yourself to sleep at certain times, Ensor advises.

Gradually crank up activities during the day – even 5- to 10-minute bursts are enough to make you sleepier at night.

Sleeping too little? Develop a nighttime ritual.

“Brush your hair, your teeth, read some poetry,” Ensor suggests. “As with small children, you begin to associate those activities with going to sleep.”

7. Baby Bummer
The joy of a new baby can go bust if you’re suffering from the blues.

Part of postpartum depression is hormonal, says Goldberg. “You go from having a high level of [estrogen and progesterone] to low levels.”

Thyroid hormone levels can also drop, adding to fatigue that’s automatic when caring for a newborn. Plus, women also put tremendous pressure on themselves to be perfect in their new role as moms.

Mood booster: Even if you don’t feel like it, go through the motions of bonding with your baby. It can foster a genuine connection, Muller says. “Spend time with your child, just looking at her,” she advises.

But if you can’t care for your newborn, get help from friends and family and see a therapist immediately, says Ensor.

Untreated postpartum depression threatens the infant’s safety and leads to learning and developmental disabilities in childhood.

8. Pain Pusher
Headaches often feel worse when you’re blue. Depressed people feel much stronger pain levels than happy people, according to a 2010 Oxford University study that examined their brain scans.

“A depressed person is already suffering and sees things in a negative way,” Ensor says. They also have fewer activities to distract them from pain.

Mood booster: See a doctor to find out what’s behind your pain and how to banish it. Treating the depression with psychotherapy may also address aches, says Ensor.

9. Stomach Troubles
Is your depression linked to anxiety? Then you probably often suffer diarrhea, upset stomach and ulcers, says Latz.

“Anxiety creates more stomach acid,” leading to gastrointestinal troubles, she says.

Mood booster: Ask your doctor for an antidepressant that addresses anxiety and depression.

“You could try an [serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor] SNRI, such as Effexor or Cymbalta,” Latz suggests. “They handle anxiety, so people tend to be happier.”

10. Back Beater
“With depression, we get more sedentary,” Latz says. “And when we sit more, our leg muscles are chronically flexed."

When you stand up and you pull on taut leg muscles attached to the pelvis, which creates more strain on the lower back.

“Many depressed people [also] gain weight,” which strains their back, says Latz. “So you have stress and tension on your back from two forces.”

Mood booster: Take a break from your desk chair every hour for 5-15 minutes, changing position and stretching leg muscles, suggests Latz.

She also recommends this exercise:

1. Place your thumb on the outside of your thigh at your hipbone.

2. Push in hard while you take deep breaths. Continue to do that all the way down your thigh.

“All those muscles [will] release,” she says. So will the ones going to the back and pulling on the pelvis.

Source: Lifescript

27th June 2011, 12:14 PM
There is no doubt that Depression is the worst disease in new era which effects from inner and may cause bad health to a great extent . I am also grateful to you for posting some great information about this disease .