Depression Complications

Depression Complications

Depression Complications
Medically untreated depression puts people at higher risk for infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes and heart problems. People who do not seek treatment for depression also fail to thrive in work, home and school settings. It can negatively affect relationships, sleep patterns and libido. In severe cases untreated depression can result in suicide.

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    AMarsha Lucas, Psychology, answered
    Can depression create problems in my relationship?

    Depression can have a big impact on your relationship, says neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, PhD. In this WisePatient video, she explains how depression and anxiety can negatively change the dynamic between partners.


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    APeter Bongiorno, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    A recent Korean study looked at 660 patients and found that there is a clear association between level of knee pain and increased incidence of depression. It seems that in people with low levels of degeneration and arthritic changes, if their pain levels were expectedly higher, they were more likely to also be depressed.

    Given that neuroimmune research has shown patients with depression to have higher levels of inflammation in their body that can inflame the brain, it makes sense that those with joint pain will also suffer higher levels of pain, due to increased prostaglandins and inflammatory cytokines (immune system molecules) that increase our perception of pain.

    Arthritis is already known to be more prevalent in patients with depression. This study is interesting, for it teaches doctors that it may be necessary to look more carefully at a patient who seems to have joint pain that is greater than the damage or trauma might suggest. As a natural medicine practitioner, it also reminds me that natural treatments that work on inflammation (usually aimed at calming an inflamed digestive tract creating an anti-inflammatory diet) can help both knee pain and depression. Acupuncture is also wonderful to address both symptoms while working on the underlying causes of joint pain and low mood.
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    ARealAge answered

    Take time to find -- and do -- things that make you happy. It could mean better blood sugar. It's true. A study shows that depressed people may be 42% more likely to develop diabetes. And the stronger the sad symptoms, the greater the odds.

    Sad feelings, researchers suspect, can make you want to do some pretty unhealthy things -- like pig out before bed, sack out on the couch all day or maybe even smoke or drink. And those are all things that could put you on the road to diabetes. But bad habits are only part of the picture, experts note. Even in the absence of bad habits, depressed people are still more likely to develop diabetes. 

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    ATarique Perera, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are the risks of untreated depression?
    Untreated depression can put people at high risk for other health conditions like heart disease and can prevent them from functioning at their optimum. In this video, Tarique Perera, MD, a psychiatrist with Contemporary Care of Connecticut, explains.
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    People with depression are more likely to have other mental health problems. For example, anxiety disorders -- such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others -- are often paired with depression. So are eating disorders and drug and alcohol abuse. Also, in some people, depression can be part of bipolar disorder (manic depression).
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    About half of the people who have a first episode of depression will have another episode within 10 years. The risk of further bouts of depression is higher than in someone who has never been depressed.

    Alcohol and drug abuse are very common among people with depression.

    Depressive disorder can have devastating effects on relationships as complete isolation and withdrawal during depression are common.

    Suicide may be a complication of untreated, mistreated, or misdiagnosed depression. Women attempt suicide more often than men do, but men are much more likely to succeed in killing themselves. The rate of suicide is four times greater for men. Men over 70 are the most likely to commit suicide. Calling a local suicide hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, can be help for someone thinking of suicide.

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    ARamani Durvasula, PhD, Psychology, answered
    How does depression affect appetite?

    Changes in appetite are one of the key symptoms seen in depression - some lose their appetite and don't eat enough, while others overeat. Watch psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, discuss how a change in appetite is a common symptom of depression.

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    AJohn Preston, PsyD, Psychology, answered
    Disordered sleep is extremely common in people with depression. Insomnia is especially common, particularly waking frequently throughout the night and waking early in the morning and being unable to return to sleep. Even if they do manage to sleep through the night, people with depression may also have poor quality sleep. This means that you don’t get enough deep, restful sleep, which can result in fatigue during the day, forgetfulness, an inability to concentrate and heightened emotional sensitivity, such as being more easily frustrated and overwhelmed.
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    AErika Schwartz, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Chronic illnesses are very often the cause of depression. The risk for depression is high in people diagnosed with chronic illness. To avoid adding another diagnosis to your chronic disease, you must focus on finding a good support group that does not focus on negative issues and work with physicians that do not scare you into getting depressed. Family and friend support are also key and a good therapist may be what the doctor ordered for you to work out the issues associated with the diagnosis of a chronic illness.
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    Mounting scientific evidence now suggests that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to have depression as those in the general population. These increased rates of depression among people with diabetes have been confirmed in multiple studies, as well as across different cultural and ethnic groups. While there is a close relationship between depression and diabetes, there is a lack of public awareness about this relationship.

    It is important that people with diabetes, depression -- or both disorders -- know these facts:
    • The relationship between diabetes and depression is complex. Current research suggests that each disease is a risk factor for developing the other, that the two disorders may share similar patho-physiological mechanisms, and that depression may indicate particularly severe underlying diabetic illness.
    • Even symptoms of mild depression (not just a clinical diagnosis of depression) can impair your ability to manage your own health, and lower your quality of life.
    • Depression and diabetes has been associated with poor medication adherence, poor glycemic control and with an increased prevalence of complications in Type 2 diabetes.
    • Patients with depression in diabetes have 50-70% higher healthcare costs.
    • Those with depression in diabetes have a higher risk of mortality than non-depressed patients, particularly the elderly.
    • Depression can be treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or a flexible combination of both with relatively good results. While treatment improves depression symptoms, no treatment has been clearly identified that improves glycemic control.