Prolonged negative emotions related to depression can have significant short term and long term effects on our mental health, physical health and behaviour. In turn, this can then affect a person's work performance, home and social life and ultimately their personal relationships and own self-worth and motivation.
In the short term, depression can reduce a person's enjoyment of life, withdraw them from their family and friends and make them feel very alone. Depression means that we can lose focus of our priorities and goals in life and drains the motivation to achieve and to do the things that we love. This in turn devalues our self-worth and self-esteem leaving us with a feeling of hopelessness and despair.
In the long term, prolonged depression can have even more serious impacts on one's health, leading to the development of more serious conditions and illnesses. A continued imbalance in chemicals in our bodies, weakens a persons' immune system and mental health, making them more susceptible to many other serious conditions.
- Psychological - This is where a stressful or upsetting life event causes a persistent low mood, low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness about the future.
- Physical or chemical - Depression is caused by changes in levels of chemicals in the brain. For example, your mood can change as hormone levels go up and down. This is often seen in women as it is associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth and menopause.
- Social - Doing fewer activities or having fewer interests can cause depression, or may happen because of depression.
All of the effects, triggers, causes and symptoms of depression are negative.
If you are suffering from the symptoms or effects of depression, it is advisable to speak to a medical professional immediately.
Depression can cause a wide range of other medical conditions and in turn these conditions can contribute to the severity of depression:
- Chronic Stress
- Eating disorders
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Overactive thyroid
When depression becomes too much for a person to handle and appropriate treatment has not been sought, suicide can often be the result. According to the NHS (2009) mental disorders, particularly depression and substance abuse, are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide. Some of the warning signs that people with depression are considering suicide are described by the NHS (2009):
- Making final arrangements - such as giving away possessions, making a will or saying goodbye to friends;
- Talking about death or suicide - this may be a direct statement, such as 'I wish I was dead', but often depressed people will talk about the subject indirectly, using phrases like, 'I think dead people must be happier than us', or 'wouldn't it be nice to go to sleep and never wake up';
- Self-harm - such as cutting their arms or legs, or burning themselves with cigarettes;
- A sudden lifting of mood - this could mean that a person has decided to commit suicide and feels better because of this decision.
If you have experienced any of the warning signs of suicide or know someone who has please seek medical assistance immediately.
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