Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the world. In India, more than 45.7 million individuals suffer from depression. Depression is a complex mood disorder that decreases an individual’s well-being and negatively affects their thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. According to the DSM V,
"Depression, or clinical depression, is a common and severe mood disorder. Those who suffer from depression experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Aside from the emotional problems caused by depression, individuals can also present with a physical symptom such as chronic pain or digestive issues.”
It is essential to treat depression as it causes various physical and emotional problems among adults and children. A few symptoms that an individual suffers from are feelings of guilt, difficulty concentrating, lack of self-esteem, loss of self-confidence, and helplessness. This article focuses on the impact of depression on an individual’s physical health. It provides insight into techniques that can help to cure depression.
An individual suffering from depression will have the following physical effects on their body-
Weight fluctuations- An individual suffering from depression suffers from loss of appetite or starts overindulging in eating. Depression sets our body into a state of physical and emotional stress that often leads to weight change, cramps, and stomach aches. An individual also suffers from deficiencies like amino acids and Vitamin B.
Increased pain sensitivity- An individual suffering from depression often experiences muscle tension, headaches, and other pains. Since an individual’s mood is in a negative state, an individual tends to experience more pain.
Decreased immunity system – Stress and depression are closely related to each other. Stress causes a state of emergency in our body, tightens blood vessels, increases heart rate, and reduces our ability to fight any illnesses. Due to a decrease immunity system and high stress, an individual’s cardiovascular system is also affected.
Sleep Disorder - An individual who is suffering from depression generally develops insomnia. Sleeping disorders are directly related to depression. Various research has shown that an individual suffering from insomnia has ten times more risk of developing depression.
Loss of sexual experiences - An individual suffering from depression experiences loss of libido dyspareunia and have trouble experiencing orgasms.
We often underestimate how small techniques can help us cure depression. A few of those techniques are –
Exercise- An individual who regularly exercises experience improved and elated mood. When an individual does training, whether in a gym, running, or doing yoga, their body releases endorphins that help relieve pain and stress from our body.
Practising gratitude and maintaining goals- An individual can practice gratitude by creating journals. They can write at least five good things every day that they feel blessed for. One of the more productive ways to find positivity is by practising gratitude. When you take the time to focus on the good things in your life, you naturally become more positive. Optimism in life decreases your stress as well as elevates your self-esteem. They can also set small goals that can be realistic and measurable. It helps in experiencing a sense of accomplishment that increases elated mood and motivation to work more.
Meditation- A little self-care can go a long way toward helping us get a better, happier, and healthier life. During this pandemic, where technology has overpowered our lives and sitting all day home, this overload can overwhelm us. It can lead us to the road of excess stress, anxiety, and many more issues like depression. By practising mediation, an individual can achieve a mentally and emotionally calm and stable state. It even helps in concentrating and alleviate depression.
Improving eating habits- An individual can go green and take a healthy diet to fight depression. Fatty acids like tuna, salmon, and Folic acids like spinach, avocado should be included in the diet as they help fight depression. Even Zinc can be added to the diet as its deficiency leads to increase symptoms of depression.
Maintaining a sleep schedule – Mood and sleep are closely related to each other. An individual can turn off all their electronics before sleeping. Instead of watching television or movies on mobile, one can try reading books or articles in dim light.
These are only a few ideas and activities that can improve our well-being and alleviate depression. If you or anyone you know, experience depression, you can consult a clinical psychologist or therapist.