Depression affects millions of men and women in the United States. Unfortunately, many people suffering from depression suppress their symptoms, perceiving themselves as weak or not in control if they seek professional help. However, depression is not a weakness, but a serious medical condition. As such, it should not be left untreated. Among the dangers and risk factors associated with untreated depression are:
● Social isolation. Symptoms of depression include loss of interest in normal activities, feelings of hopeless, weight changes, and irritability. When symptoms are overwhelming, an individual may eschew social interactions, compounding feelings of isolation and helplessness. Social withdrawal can make it difficult for friends and loved to understand the depression and offer the necessary support.
● Longer and recurring bouts of depression. If left unaddressed, depression can become worse, creating a cyclical effect. When symptoms persist for a long period of time, it can have a serious impact on an individual’s professional and personal relationships. Treatment can help reduce the risks of another episode.
● Other medical conditions. Depression can place a strain on the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart disease and blood clots. In addition, some physical problems may be more difficult to treat in individuals with depression.
● Substance abuse. Some individuals may turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their symptoms of depression. Although mind altering substances may seem to offer temporary relief, they only exacerbate the problem. Substance abuse can put a serious strain on relationships and one’s physical wellbeing.
● Shorter lifespan. Chronic depression is associated with increased mortality. The long-term effects of chemical imbalances can take a toll on the body. In the direst cases, self-harm and thoughts of suicide may lead to an early death, causing tremendous pain to those left behind.
If you are feeling depressed, it is important to reach out and get the support you need. Although depression may seem insurmountable, it is a treatable mental health disorder. Talking to loved ones and mental health professionals is the first step to diagnosing and managing your depression. Contact Dr. Fieve for a consultation.