Contributed by – Healthians team
Have you been feeling a little offbeat, moved away from the general situation, down or miserable most of the time or in simple words have you been feeling a little lost especially during these challenging times? If yes, then you could be getting trapped in a web called Depression. Depression is a mental disorder and as per a WHO study, 1 in every 3 Indians is depressed. Now that is a big number! But not many of us address it seriously. We always think it’s just a phase which will pass. But friends, most times depression has its roots far deeper than we think. It is just the tip of an iceberg. Many diseases are laying silent underneath. The actual reason behind your depression could most probably be a physical medical condition rather than a mental health condition.
IDENTIFYING THE VARIOUS SHADES OF DEPRESSION
Depression can be broadly categorized into behavioral, physical and imaginative. Each category of depression has a different feeling.
- Behavioral depression can be unable to concentrate, withdrawing from close family and friends, not going out anymore or not meeting and mixing with people.
- Imaginative depression can be where one imagines itself to be inferior to others like ‘Nothing good ever happens to me’ or ‘I’m a failure’ or even ‘People would be better off without me.’
- Physical depression has signs in the body which indicate that the problem is internal but the manifestation is psychological like headaches and muscle pains, sleep problems, significant weight loss or gain, tired all the time or loss or change of appetite.
Most of the time, depression can just be an alarming sign of some health fluctuation, a hint of an underlying disease which is sending signals via your frequent mood swings. More than the illness, it is the psychological impact of the disease which harms an individual. Major diseases which harm mental health are diabetes, cancer, anything related to heart, obesity, cholesterol and asthma.
DEPRESSION: A WINDOW TO MANY DISEASES
Depression & Diabetes
You might have low energy levels and may feel lethargic all the time. It is a common sign of depression but it could even be hinting at low levels of glucose in your body. Get your blood glucose levels checked if you have frequent episodes of laziness and low energy levels. Chances are that depression is just a sign of low levels of free glucose in your body.
Depression & Asthma
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways that has symptoms like a continuous cough and sneezing. It’s worsened stage has symptoms like difficulty in breathing. During depression, the inability to breathe in is a common symptom. The neural changes in the airways trigger asthma. So, if you have difficulty in breathing during tense situations or when under some psychological pressure, do visit a chest physician to rule out any chances of Asthma.
Depression & Thyroid
Thyroid is the gland which looks like a butterfly in the neck produces a hormone called Thyroid. When this gland does not produce this hormone it causes a lack of it in the body causing Hypothyroidism. Depression is one of the major signs of Hypothyroidism. Get your thyroid levels tested to know the true cause.
Depression & Obesity
If you are in the higher range on the weighing scale, you are inclined to go into the cocoon stage. Obesity not only makes people feel uncomfortable because of their public image, but it makes them at a higher risk of being depressed. Many overweight individuals shy away from the public and are ashamed of their body image. Hence, their unwillingness to be social tends to be confused with a state of depression. This can be addressed effectively by undertaking a few lifestyle changes. Focus on fighting obesity, depression will be addressed automatically.
Depression & Cholesterol
Studies have shown that stress increases cholesterol not only in the short-term but can also affect cholesterol levels even years down the road. When you’re under mental stress or depression, your body is preparing to protect you and assumes a primitive response, called the fight-or-flight response. During such a situation, the brain produces the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The release of these hormones sends signals that increase blood flow to the brain and eventually produce more energy for the body. When cortisol and adrenaline are released, it raises your cholesterol level. Slowly and gradually it increases your blood cholesterol.
Depression & Heart
The relation between heart disease and depression is complex. A percentage of people with no history of depression become depressed after a heart attack or after developing heart failure. The fear of leading an unhealthy life leads them to depression. Even those with self-doubt over diminished physical capabilities get depressed. And people with depression but no previously detected heart disease, seem to develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population.
Depression & Cancer
People undergoing treatment for cancer are prone to depression. Strong medications and chemotherapy are some of the reasons for it. Those fighting cancer are either on strong medication or radiation therapy or both to burn their cancerous cells but this makes them psychologically weak. They easily get engulfed by depression. It is very essential for those who are suffering from cancer to think positive for better results.
TIPS TO AVOID DEPRESSION
Here are simple tips to keep your mind healthy and out of depression.
- Speak to people and come out of solitude.
- Do things that make you happy such as dancing, painting, singing and follow your hobbies.
- Sleep peacefully by taking a shower before bed and keep the room comfortable.
- Avoid eating sugars before going to bed.
- Listen to music.
- Exercise well.
- Eat healthy and diet rich in vitamins.
- Get tested for the actual medical causes that may be triggering depression. Corrective measures to cure that medical condition is important to deal with depression.