Millions of Americans are suffering from depression daily. It affects your mood, causing feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. When diagnosed early, depression is very treatable. However, less than 30% of those with depression are getting treated.
If left untreated, depression poses additional risks. It permeates your life, hurting everything from your relationships to your heart health. You are more likely to develop further mental health problems requiring complex therapy approaches. Here are the five aspects of your life that, if left untreated, depression will affect negatively:
1. Social Life and Relationships
Mental health problems, especially if left untreated, can unravel relationships quickly. Depression is a cyclical problem: depression impacts the quality of your relationships, and parts of your relationship affect the level of your depression.
If you suffer from untreated depression, you may feel more frustration and anger or exhibit violent behavior. You can take dangerous risks and engage in reckless behavior you wouldn’t have otherwise. Your condition may interfere with interpersonal communication. It can also make you feel less involved, and cause you to pay less attention to others. This can take a toll on relationships and be highly stressful for everyone involved. You may struggle to enjoy spending time with others, and you are at risk of self-isolating.
2. Work and School
Depression can wreak havoc on your capacity to make thoughtful decisions. You may have increased absences or frequently come in late and leave early. You can struggle to focus or remember new information. Depression can impact your interest in the tasks that you used to find fulfilling or exciting. Your energy level or motivation to complete daily tasks can decrease. Your overall attendance and performance will suffer over time.
If you have a mental health issue, especially untreated depression, you don’t know what lengths you will go to mask the symptoms at work or school. Covering your illness will add more to your burden. You may experience anxiety about how you are feeling or managing stressful situations.
3. Self Medication
Alcohol and drug use are common if you have untreated depression. Short-term, it helps you ignore the symptoms, but it can result in substance use disorder. In addition to being unable to maintain your relationships, symptoms include self-pity, memory loss, tremors, secretive behavior and usage, and an unwillingness to talk about alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is a depressant that can worsen your depression symptoms. If you use a substance to self-medicate, you are more at risk for suicide. Your treatment may need to be specialized to deal with both depression and substance use.
4. Other Mental Health Problems
Having a mental health problem automatically increases your risk for others. In addition to substance use disorder, you can link untreated depression to other mental health disorders such as social phobia, panic disorder, and especially anxiety disorders. Leaving depression untreated will frequently result in uncontrolled anxiety as well.
5. Physical Well-Being
Untreated depression impacts physical health negatively. You are more likely to engage in risky behavior with alcohol, drugs, or sexual encounters that can lead to infections and diseases. You may use eating as a coping mechanism or become more physically stagnant. Long term, this can lead to excessive weight gain or obesity, putting you at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and heart attacks.
You can have many physical pains, including: migraines or headaches, cramps and stomach issues, chronic fatigue or pain, and inflammation with an increased risk of autoimmune disorders. It can also affect your sleep, most commonly resulting in insomnia. A lack of sleep compounds depression symptoms: difficulty concentrating and making decisions, extreme tiredness or fatigue, and a loss of energy.
You may turn to self-mutilation, like cutting, to deal with your feelings. Or you might start having suicidal ideation or attempting suicide. Overall, you are likely to have a premature death from your untreated depression or complications from other medical conditions caused by depression.
Get Help with Depression Treatments
If you or a loved one has untreated depression, seek out treatment as soon as possible to mitigate the effects it has on your life. While some find success with talk therapy or medication alone, most people will need both in conjunction. Alternative depression treatment in Lakewood, like transcranial magnetic stimulation, are newer and less invasive options that can treat both depression and anxiety simultaneously.
Continued research on medications and their uses and advances in depression treatments have made it a very treatable mental illness. However, depression is unlikely to resolve on its own. Often, the symptoms continue to worsen and progress. It can lead to unsatisfactory work and school performance and sleep disruptions. It can cause substance use problems and suicidal thoughts.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help for yourself or your loved one; speak to your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Appropriately managing your mental health reduces the risk of negative consequences.
Depression can impact your daily life. It can ruin relationships and affect your physical well-being. If you are diagnosed with depression, seek treatment as soon as possible. That way, you can minimize its negative impact. But when left untreated, you will experience its negative effects in the following aspects of your life.