Depression is the commonest mental disorder diagnosed around the world, and is one of the most prevalent causes of deaths by suicide and deaths in general. Depression is characterized by feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and worthlessness, and is brought about by chemical and hormonal imbalances compounded by immediate or continuous external circumstances. Its treatment requires therapy and counseling, along with medication in some cases. Unless diagnosed and treated early, depression can grow to dangerous levels to a point where a person becomes a threat to themselves and to their close ones. The good news is, it is eminently curable given time and correct treatment.
In this article, we will look at the bad and the good (yes, there are some) effects of depression.
Negative effects of depression:
First, let us talk about the obvious.
Helplessness and trauma
The most obvious side effect of depression is the symptoms themselves. A person suffering from depression feels helpless and trapped in their situation, and an overwhelming sense of pessimism. This leads to a severe lack of energy, which in turn translates to poor performance at work or in academics. This situation in turn helps to worsen the depression itself as the person continues to feel more and more worthless, and soon loses all enthusiasm in daily duties and even formerly enjoyable tasks, including eating and sex.
Another major side effect of depression is the deteriorating relationships the affected person faces. Depression if often characterized by extreme levels of paranoia and the feeling of inadequacy, which cause the person to become overly suspicious or extremely withdrawn. The feeling of inadequacy, especially, leads a person to believe that everyone around them hold a similar opinion, and prompts them t close up even further. Unless treated, all attempts at communication are usually rebuffed, and such behavior often leads to complete isolation. The irritability often associated with the illness also contributes to this breakdown in relationships.
Untreated depression can grow to consume a person’s entire existence, and the very act of living can become painful to them. In such a situation, the affected individual often chooses to put an end to this suffering by killing themselves. Depression is one of the leading causes of death around the world, and the numbers are steadily rising. Self harm is also common among individuals suffering from depression; even if luckily the self harm and suicide attempts do not result in death, they can do long term damage to the body that might well be impossible to recover from.
Depression is physically harmful as well, even without the suicide risk. Studies have shown that depression is considerably linked to heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and mental decline, and the host of other illnesses that come hand in hand with these problems. The reason is quite obvious: the person who suffers from depression tends to overeat, cut down on exercise, indulge in substance abuse, and refrain from positive mental exercise.
Positive effects of depression:
However, in a recent, rather exciting study conducted by the researchers from various universities, it was found the depression does indeed have some positive effects as well.
Makes you analytical
Depression is apparently good at making people more analytical. Since the brain of a depressed person functions somewhat differently, they tend to analyze and break down every task into smaller components so as to be better at dealing with them. This also makes them much better at performing sequential tasks such as shopping, cleaning, and solving complex mathematical problems.
From a more psychological perspective depression helps a person become more compassionate and less judgmental. Since the affected person goes through hell and can- in the good days- trace their feelings back to internal and external circumstances, they are less likely to judge someone whose behavior is less than socially accepted. They are not a lot less likely to flip out and give someone a verbal lashing because that person did not completely live up to social norms of behavior, and will assume that something is probably causing this behavior.
The biggest issue with depression, even today, is probably the social stigma that surrounds it. It is imperative that this mindset change and people learn to accept mental illness of any kind as no different from physical ailments; they are just as dangerous, and sometimes even more threatening, than physical ailments, especially if the mind chooses to reject the treatment. If you feel that you are posing risk to yourself, or experiencing symptoms that are out of the ordinary, consult a medical practitioner immediate without worrying about what people might say. Depression is dangerous irrespective of the positive side effects, and needs to be weeded out of your system right away.