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Side Effects of Untreated Depression: Management and Prevention

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Side Effects of Untreated Depression: Management and Prevention

Depression is a psychological disorder characterized by depressed mood, performance impairment, reduced mental and physical activity and loss of interest in life. It’s one of the most urgent and challenging problems of the modern medicine. According to the WHO, about 350 million people all over the world suffer from depressive disorder and it’s a leading cause of disability in population. Moreover, chronic or prolonged depressive disorder can exert a devastating influence on a person’s physical and emotional health.

Untreated depression causes many negative consequences and significantly reduces in the quality of life. For example, certain studies suggest that depression is an independent risk factor for such heart diseases as hypertension, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and stroke. Untreated clinical depression tends to take a serious toll on the physical health of patients; it can provoke the following complications and side effects:
drug and alcohol abuse;

obesity due to depression-associated eating disorders that can consequently lead to the development of diabetes type 2 and increase cardiovascular risks;
chronic pains and aches including headaches, muscle and joint pains;
social isolation and problems in the family;
insomnia and sleep that doesn’t feel like “enough”;

self-injury, suicide attempts and committed suicide. Researchers claim that about 90% of people who commit suicide have mental disorders including depression.

It’s important to understand that depression is unlikely to go away on its own, this condition requires serious attention and thorough treatment that can be offered only by a medical specialist. If left untreated depression can last for months and even years and have destructive effects on your life. However, there are certain things you can do that will help you cope with depression and prevent its recurrence provided that you’re already getting required medical help:
Staying active is very important for your emotional and physical health. Not only can physical activity help you feel better, but it’s also beneficial for your cardiovascular health. Even if you don’t enjoy activities you loved before depression, try something new because you might actually enjoy it more than expected. To find activities that you could enjoy make a list of all activities you used to love and those you’ve never tried, plan one of them each day, increase the amount of time for those you like. In addition, try to establish a regular exercise routine.
Getting a regular sleep pattern is helpful for a full recovery from depression. The following can be useful:

go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day;

avoid drinking coffee after 4 p.m. and don’t drink more than two cups of caffeine-containing beverages per day;

alcohol doesn’t go well with a healthy sleep, so don’t use it to help you fall asleep;
do something relaxing for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

Coping with irritability associated with depression is also helpful. To reduce your irritability practice regular relaxation techniques, stress management and meditation; if you feel that you’re getting angry, take a timeout to calm down.

Reducing negative thinking is essential for depression recovery. Negative thoughts prevent you from focusing on getting better and thus make you more susceptible to unhealthy emotions. To avoid negative thinking try to focus on the present, write down your worries, work through every concern, understand how realistic your negative thinking is and find alternative explanations and thoughts.

Giving up your harmful habits. Smoking, excessive drinking, using drugs or overeating won’t help you relieve your depression, quite the opposite, they will make your condition even worse. Moreover, such habits will increase your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disorders.
Seeking support and counseling. Depression support groups can help you feel less isolated and provide you with sympathy and useful information. Friends and family are a significant source of support in coping with depression:

talk openly with your loved ones and help them understand your condition;
ask your close friends to help you with your daily routines like getting to therapy and exercising together to encourage you.

Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. Diet rich in whole grains, fish, vegetables, protein and fruit and devoid of high-fat and sugary foods will assist you in maintaining the health of your body.

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