The impact on the health of an untreated depression patient is so serious that its effects can be psychological and physical if it is left untreated. These potential complications result in affecting every aspect of the patient’s life.
Depression is a distressing condition that can rob you of the ability to enjoy life. It is a leading cause of disability, absentees from work, disturbed relationships and sickness.
Clinical depression also has an impact on the family members, relatives, and friends of the depressed person. It can be disastrous and the need for prompt treatment cannot be overstressed.
Untreated, this mental disorder proceeds to become more severe and the chances of full recovery then become almost impossible.There are various types of depression and according to its severity, complications come into effect.
The complications of depression can be short-term and long-term.
Short-term and long-term effects
Short-term complications include loss of appetite, weight loss, and other physical symptoms. Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) are some other problems that can make you feel fatigued and lethargic.
Long-term complications include malnutrition due to not eating enough or obesity from eating too much. Short-term memory loss is another effect, which develops over long-term.
Another long-term complication of severe depression is the tendency to commit suicide. Most of the suicides committed are due to untreated severe clinical depression.
Impact of Depression
Depression is considered a medical disease because its symptoms, besides being emotional, also manifest physically. The complications too, are mental as well as physical and are explained below.
- Depression makes the person turn to alcohol for mental relief leading to regular excessive intake and alcohol abuse. This is dangerous because it can further cause complications of alcoholism.
- Similarly, there is a tendency of excessive smoking and use of tobacco products, which can give rise to complications of smoking.
- Depression makes the person more prone to addiction, illicit drugs or drug abuse.
Other mental disorders
Anxiety is often precipitated by untreated and long-lasting depression and similarly, anxiety can also precipitate depression.
There is a very high tendency of an untreated depressed person to commit suicide.
- The depressed person often suffers from erectile dysfunction.
- Depression can complicate existing heart condition or cancer.
- People with depression are at a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Research indicates a link between untreated depression and heart disease especially arrhythmias. Association of both these conditions results in unsatisfactory success of treatment and poor prognosis of both these conditions.
- Depression has a negative impact on the immune system. A weakened immune system can give colds, flu and other infectious diseases.
Sleep complications associated with depression
Depression can cause sleep deprivation, which can make depression worse. Sleep deprivation causes diminished energy levels, a sad mood, and a diminished clarity of thinking.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a highly prevalent condition in the general population. Depression and sleep disorders are seen to occur at a higher rate in patients with diabetes.
Besides affecting your life, depression has an adverse effect on your family and others. Such problems include:
- Problems with colleagues at school or work
- Frequent conflicts with family members
- Difficulties in maintaining relationships with almost everyone
- Tendency to become a social outcast
How depression affects you physically
Depression complications go much beyond affecting you mentally. It also has undesirable effects on your body.
These are a few of the most common physical complications of depression:
- Increased aches and pains in the body, which occur in about two-thirds of the with depression
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of libido
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of deep sleep, or too much of it
Complications in elderly
Besides the above-explained complications, the most common impact that is serious and life-threatening in the elderly is suicide.
In elderly people, the apprehension of nearing death has a tremendous impact on the mental state of the already weakened mental state.
The suicide rate in the age group of 65 years and older is highest among all age groups.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2007 the rate of suicide in this age group was 14.3 deaths per 100,000.
According to the statistics by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicidal rate in those 85 years and older is twice the national average; in men 75 years and older it is 36 per 100,000.
The risk of suicides in men increases with age while in women it peaks at middle age and then declines.
According to EverydayHealth, 66% of suicides are a result of untreated severe depression.
Prompt treatment helps
Knowing the impact of depression will only make you feel the importance of a prompt treatment, should you or anyone you know shows signs of developing depression.
As seen above, the effects of untreated depression produce dangers, which also extend to producing a dangerous heart condition and a probable suicidal death.
Prompt and a religiously followed treatment can save you from all these consequences.