The Smackdown: Depression Hurts Your Body As Much As Your Mind

Much has been about the emotional impact that depression can have on your mind. Even though there have been significant medical advances in the fight against depression there is still so much work to be done. In many ways, medical research is only just past the point of beginning concerning the physical damage depression causes.

The truth is, depression hurts your body as much as your mind, and can lead or contribute to a variety of physical problems that affect the functions of everything from your circulation to immune system. In fact, the role depression plays is in itself a vicious cycle: depression can cause or make worse some physical conditions or ailments and at the same time some illnesses can trigger to lead to depression.

Symptoms Easily Missed

It’s not just the mental and emotional capacity of an individual that is impacted by depression. There are many common physical ailments that can easily be ignored as symptoms of depression or misdiagnosed altogether:

-       Lack of, or decrease in appetite.

-       Decreased interest in sex.

-       Increased ached and pains, Perhaps the most common symptom.

-       Difficulty sleeping or trouble waking up in the morning.

-       Chronic fatigue.

Cause and Effect

It’s just now being understood that the way you think or feel can affect many of your body’s systems. Your mind can impact your pain threshold, your reflexes, how you seep and even your sex drive. The challenge for medical professionals is to recognize these symptoms. In the infancy of the study of depression many symptoms were misdiagnosed as normal signs of aging in adults. The truth is, depression increases your risk of a number of diseases and other conditions by increasing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline. Depression can affect the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infection.

The Benefit of Physical Activity

It would be a misnomer to say that depression can be easily resolved by a regular routine of physical activity. That’s just not true. What is true is that exercise/physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins in your body. Endorphins are often referred to as the “feel good” chemicals in your body because they trigger a positive feeling in the body. That said, a routine of regular exercise has been shown to boost self esteem, reduce stress, improve sleep and fight off anxiety. Almost all the things that depression seems to cause.

Routine exercise also has some great collateral benefits including lowering blood pressure, strengthening your heart, increasing blood flow and energy and reducing body fat.

Depression can hurt your body as much as your mind. Of this there is no doubt. But it’s also being proved that moderate depression can be successfully fought off by taking care of yourself through a daily/weekly regimen of exercise and diet.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Ond?ej Šálek