How Does Depression Affect Physical Health?

Depression is such a physically and socially debilitating condition.

It restricts your body from doing the normal day-to-day activities and jeopardizes your work and how you deal with others.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 11.6 million Americans are suffering from depression.

More specifically, clinical depression.

While some willingly undergo robust treatment, other individuals still find it very hard to identify early symptoms of this affective disorder.

According to the latest research findings, early symptoms of depression should be dealt with immediately and accorded with appropriate treatment.

Otherwise, major depression sets in and may result to other cardiovascular complications.

We previously explored the definition and possible symptoms of depression.

Before we look at how depression affects your body physiologically or physically, however, let us first review the various symptoms manifested by people and their relative causes to fully delineate the path of its origin and occurrence from a more clinical viewpoint.

Again, depression is a psychoneurotic illness where patients manifest some or all of the following symptoms: sadness, sudden decrease or increase in appetite, concentration difficulty, inactivity, and hyperactivity (manic depression), feeling of rejection and setting in the idea of committing suicide.

These and other symptoms may represent many indication of psychological degeneration and may take toll on your physical well-being.

To understand better how depression works in the human body and its possible adverse effects, it is better to know some of the essential scientific and physiological basis of this rather unusual condition.

Physiology of Depression and its Causes

Clinical depression is basically a neurological condition. It is caused by an imbalance of hormones present in the body, which is in that case, produced by the brain itself.

Hormones are small biologically active molecules that direct the function of other organs. They are responsible for the direct physiological activity and characteristic behavior of a person through various social and environmental circumstances.

Imbalance in the hormone levels in blood serum can cause a massive effect on your state of emotional health.

This sudden increase or decrease of these chemical messengers may cause you to become overly excited over any situation (manic depression) or may feel very low to the point of becoming apathetic, and choose not to respond to their everyday needs.

Some evidence points to a genetic cause of depressive illness, although not fully confirmed for many of the evidences of genetic linkages are not fully substantiated.

Most individuals who manifest genetic predisposition do not outwardly exhibit such illness. It is found that all people can develop this condition if triggered by appropriate environmental factors.

Physical Effects of Depression

The extent of physical effects of depression depends on the severity of the depression you are experiencing.

For people with mild forms of depression (dysthymia), it may last for months or even years and individuals who do not get proper and individualized medical treatment may progress into a severe depression or psychotic state.

Bipolar depression experiences a roller-coaster symptom of excitement and loneliness. They may experience a rapid mood swings from lonely to manic attacks.

On the other hand, major depression shows a wide-range and full-blown emotional imbalance which interferes with normal activities such as work, study, family affairs and social responsibility.

Since this condition is basically a neurological problem, it may spin off a host of mental and physical incapacity to perform your usual activities.


Pathologically apathetic individuals tend to avoid their friends and colleagues, which are in turn, responded with reciprocal action due to displays of irritable mood and expressions.

Individuals with this condition tend to be very worrisome and exhaust themselves into thinking that other people do not care about their concerns or problems. Some may experience worst palpitations and could set in a major catastrophic cardiovascular disease.

Due to consistent worrying and being unable to maintain an adequate amount of sleep severely depressed individuals are less able to keep their daily activities together and maintain a good relationship with their peers.

These and other problems are effective health de-stabilizers and these same symptoms can manifest in many health complications.

Depression may also affect marital relationship due to loss of sexual urges and other social activities which most couples used to enjoy.

Other professional individuals experiencing depression may find it difficult to manage their work and family relationships and even with their friends.

They find it hard to find enjoyment on petty things and usually prefer to be alone and suffer silently amidst of unsuspecting people around them.

This makes it even harder for patients to be treated successfully because they refuse to acknowledge the existence of the symptoms underlying clinical depression.

Proper education and treatment are required hand-in-hand in order to fully identify and treat specific diseases debilitating an individual with this condition.