Side Effects of Acute Depression
Dealing with feelings of sadness or hopelessness? You are not alone. More than 17.3 million adults currently have acute depression. If you suspect you might have acute depression, it is important to understand how the condition works. Learning about the various side effects and symptoms of depression can help you get the care you need.
What Is Acute Depression?
Acute depression is one of the most common mental health problems people face. Also called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, and unipolar depression, this type of depression is characterized by intense feelings of sadness. Symptoms of depression include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Persistent thoughts of self-harm
- Loss of interest in people and activities
- Mental confusion
Acute depressive episodes can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several years. There is often no identifiable cause for the depression, and it can be quite tricky to treat.
Acute Depression Side Effects
One of the big reasons that depression is so challenging is because it affects every part of your body. Though the disorder may not directly cause health problems, it indirectly impairs your wellbeing. When you are feeling tired, sad, and anxious all the time, it takes a big toll on your mental and physical health. Here are some of the most common depression side effects people encounter.
Problems With Weight
A very common sign of depression is the changes in a person’s weight. When a person is dealing with depression, it is hard for them to care for themselves appropriately. Some patients may crave sugar and overeat in an attempt to feel a bit better. This can cause them to gain a lot of weight. Ultimately, being overweight can cause heart problems, diabetes, arthritis, and other health issues. Other people with depression may lose the energy or willpower to prepare meals and eat. In these cases, patients can become severely underweight as a side effect of depression. This causes a whole host of issues like malnutrition and osteoporosis.
Increased Risk of Heart Problems
Research has found that those with depression are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease. There are a few different ways that depression contributes to heart issues. Being severely under or overweight can damage the heart, so weight problems are a major contributing cause. Another reason that depression causes heart problems is that it increases overall stress. When a person is emotionally stressed, their blood pressure and heart rate are higher. Over time, this can end up damaging the cardiovascular system.
When a person is depressed, it is hard for them to feel focused and energetic. Instead, people with depression can end up feeling too overwhelmed and tired to do more than sit around all day. This leads to all sorts of side effects. Those with depression may struggle to succeed financially, maintain social relationships, or meet scholastic requirements. Altogether, productivity losses from depression cause 83 billion dollars worth of damage to the economy each year.
More Likelihood of Getting Sick
When people are depressed, it is hard for them to care for themselves. They are unlikely to exercise, eat the right food, or go to the doctor when they feel bad. Not only does this weaken the immune system, but it also allows minor issues to get very bad. People with depression often end up with major illnesses that can go untreated for quite a while.
Issues With Sleeping
The relationship between depression and sleep is quite complicated. People with sleep disorders are more likely to develop depression, and at the same time, those with depression are more likely to end up with a sleep disorder. This happens because sleep is closely linked to overall mood. When a person is struggling to sleep, the symptoms of depression tend to worsen. Everyone with depression and sleep problems does not have the same issue. Some may sleep far too long, while others may sleep too little.
More Risks of Substance Abuse
Just like some may turn to food to soothe themselves, others may turn to drugs or alcohol. People with depression often try to self-medicate, abusing various substances to lift their mood. This is quite dangerous. Depending on the types of drugs a person uses, they may risk addiction. Once a person has a substance use disorder, it can be even harder for them to get well. Substance abuse can lead to further problems with mental, physical, and emotional health.
Sadly, those with depression are far more likely to try to hurt themselves. When a person has acute depression, they may deal with suicidal ideation. Some may want to die because they wish to end their suffering, while others may try to hurt themselves out of a sense of self-hatred. This is the most dangerous side effect of depression. Roughly one in five people with depression will attempt to end their life. Even more may harm themselves in other ways, such as cutting. Without treatment, depression can end up being a deadly disease. Fortunately, there is hope for those dealing with depression.
How to Treat Side Effects of Depression
Managing the side effects of depression is fairly complicated. There is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment option. Often, patients need a combination of therapy, medication, and other treatments to recover. One particularly effective option for those with medication-resistant depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an entirely non-invasive procedure that can help to stimulate various parts of the brain. Research has shown that it helps reduce the presence of symptoms and side effects in patients with acute depression.
If you or a loved one is dealing with acute depression, it is important to get care as soon as possible. Speak to a licensed mental health counselor and get started on a treatment plan today.
Updated content on 12/22/20