We all struggle, to some degree, with depression throughout our lives. We may sometimes feel sad or discouraged about our circumstances. We have our good days and our bad, our ups and our downs.
But what about when it’s more than that?
While depression can be a normal human emotion, depression that doesn’t go away or that causes other symptoms needs to be addressed with medical solutions.
Chronic depression, if left untreated, can lead to many life-altering issues not only for you but your loved ones as well. If you’re experiencing some form of depression, you’re not alone. Nearly 10% of the population has been diagnosed with clinical depression.
Let’s discuss some of the symptoms, treatment options, and dangers of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Often, chronic depression is a debilitating disease that makes you feel trapped and unable to fully live and appreciate your life. Below are some of the more common symptoms you may experience:
- Chronic fatigue
- Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness
- Irritability with loved ones
- Restlessness and discontent
- Brain fog and a hard time with concentration, memory loss
- Feelings of guilt
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep (insomnia)
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Digestive issues that treatment isn’t solving
- Feelings of worthlessness and anxiety
- Chronic pain, headaches, body aches, or cramping
- Irregular, missed, or prolonged menstrual cycles for women
- Loss of sexual desire
- Loss of desire to partake in once pleasurable activities
If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to seek medical treatment from your doctor. A professional will be able to get you the care you need and give you back your life.
Dangers of Depression
Now that we’ve discussed several of the symptoms of chronic depression, we need to talk about the dangers that are associated with depression.
Often, victims of depression turn to substances such as alcohol, smoking, and drugs for relief. These substances end up making symptoms worse, and people can often become addicted to, or dependent on, these substances.
Depressed people can sometimes act out of fear or anger in spontaneous, risky ways. They may drive while intoxicated or participate in unprotected sex, giving little to no thought about the lasting consequences.
Their priority is not to take care of themselves or to think of others, it becomes “what can I do in the moment to get rid of my anger or pain.”
While relationships can become strained under normal life stress, depression can cause severe stress within relationships. A depressed person may verbally lash out at a loved one and say or do things things they never would have under normal circumstances.
They may become reclusive, avoiding social or family events and gatherings; further distancing themselves from their loved ones and friends. It can be hard for someone to stay in a relationship with a depressed person if they are always being pushed away.
While a person with depression may not intend to seriously harm themselves, they may turn to burning or cutting themselves as a way to relieve their emotional pain. This is not a healthy way to cope, and could even lead to accidental death.
Depression leaves the body vulnerable to contracting illnesses. The unhealthy cycle a depressed person is caught up in makes it hard to take care of themselves.
Illnesses such as viruses, flu, and colds can easily be contracted by a chronically depressed person.
Depressed victims may feel they are trapped, and the only way out is through death. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that approximately 1 million people die from suicide every year.
Sadly, 50% of those suicides had chronic depression. If you have thoughts of death or have attempted suicide, please call 9-1-1 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8225) immediately.
These dangers not only pose a threat to your well-being but your family and friends as well.
Let’s look at some treatment options to find a way to prevent chronic depression from controlling and ruining your life.
Treatment Options for Depression
If you are experiencing any symptoms or dangers associated with chronic depression, it is imperative to seek medical help right away. Here are the medical professionals who can help:
- Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) — your first choice of action unless you don’t have a PCP.
- Social Worker
Chronic Depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Your doctor can prescribe you some antidepressants that may help control and relieve your symptoms.
A list of some of the medications your doctor may prescribe are:
- Bupropion—brand names Wellbutrin and Zyban
- Losartan aka Cozaar
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram aka Lexapro
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Glucophage aka Metformin
- Fosamax aka Alendronate
- Eliquis (Apixaban)
- Propecia (Finasteride)
- Entocort aka Pulmicort
Some medication may work better than others, for different people; so continue to check-in with your doctor about your progress. You may end up trying a few different types of medications before finding the one that works for you.
Health Dangers of Depression Left Untreated
If someone leaves their depression untreated it could lead to potentially dangerous physical health outcomes. While depression attacks you emotionally and mentally, your mental well-being can affect you physically.
Some of these physical issues are:
- Heart Disease
- Mental Decline
- Chronic Pain
- Substance Abuse
Again, if you are having thoughts of suicide please call 9-1-1 or the Suicide Healthline 1-800-273-Talk (8255) right away.
Final Thoughts on Depression
The dangers of depression are real and can affect everyone around you.
If you think you have, or have been, diagnosed with depression, try to research as much as you can about this disease. Knowledge is power, and with help from your medical doctor, family, and friends, you can overcome this!
Maintain a healthy and nutritional diet, exercise, stay hydrated, stay away from situations or people that cause you to stress, do more of what makes you happy, and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. These won’t solve a depression diagnosis, but they definitely help!
Take time to heal. Each body is different, and it may take time to find the right antidepressants for you. Discuss with your doctor which prescriptions work best and figure out what works for you.
For more help on getting the treatment and medication you need, contact us today to learn about our medication selection.