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How Untreated Depression Can Harm Your Physical Health

Just over 8% of adults in the United States over the age of 20 had depression between 2013 and 2016 during any given two-week period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And approximately 80% of people with depression have problems with work, at home, or in their social lives because of depression. It’s quite likely they also suffered physical consequences as well. 

Our staff at ALON Family Health is well-acquainted with helping individuals get treatment for depression. That treatment also protects our patients’ physical health. 

How depression affects your health

To help you understand the connection between mental and physical health, we put together this list of some of the ways depression can affect you if left untreated.

Risky behaviors

If you’ve ever dealt with clinical depression, it’s probably not a surprise to learn that one of the ways depression impacts health is that it makes you more likely to engage in risky behaviors. You may drink more alcohol than you would otherwise or become involved in taking illicit drugs. 

Heart health

There’s a growing body of evidence showing that your risk of heart disease is greater if you have untreated depression. You’re more likely to die if you have a heart attack. And if you have a heart attack and survive, you’re likely to have greater difficulty in making health care decisions during your recovery. 

Sleep disruption

Change in your sleeping pattern is a classic symptom of depression, but you may not be aware that poor sleep quality can also cause health issues. Poor sleep is associated with numerous chronic health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, among others. 

Everything hurts more

When you’re depressed you’re more likely to experience increased sensitivity to pain. Headaches, joint pain, and any other aches and pains feel more intense, and medication may not help. Feeling pain all of the time is exhausting on top of the exhaustion that is a hallmark symptom of depression. 

Lowered immune defenses

Depression seems to hamper your body’s ability to fight off viruses, such as the common cold, or even more serious illnesses. 

Treatment for depression

If you have depression, you’re not doomed to having worse physical health. The key is to get treatment for your depression. If you think it’s simply a case of the blues that will pass, yet weeks later you’re still experiencing the symptoms of depression, it’s time to get help. 

Some of the common symptoms to watch for include: 

There are many different approaches to treating depression. Therapy is beneficial for some people, medication is the best approach sometimes, and often a combination of the two is the most appropriate treatment. The most important factor is that your treatment should be tailored to fit you. 

If you’d like to learn more about how depression and physical health are linked, or if you believe you have untreated depression, book an appointment at ALON Family Health today. You can use our convenient online booking tool or our online messaging tool, or call us and we’ll be happy to get you scheduled.

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