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What are the Side Effects of Depression?

The primary indicator of depression is a prolonged state of sadness, disinterest, or general lowered mood. Many other physical and emotional side effects of depression can contribute to the ailment's negative impact. These effects include physical pain and discomfort, insomnia, low self-esteem, and damaging thought processes, namely suicidal thoughts.

Depression may first be detectable by physical changes. Headaches, indigestion, and tiredness all indicate physical side effects of depression. Paleness and sunken features could also signal problems.

One of the more debilitating side effects of depression is insomnia. An individual who dwells on problems or feelings may find the relaxed state necessary for sleep elusive. Jitters or mental confusion can signal possible sleep problems. Once sleep patterns are disturbed, a cyclical effect of insomnia and further agitation often begins to take hold.

Internal side effects of depression may be less noticeable, but more damaging. Negative self-esteem can foster feelings of worthlessness and even self-loathing. The most severe of these feelings can be accompanied by delusions or even hallucinations that seemingly confirm the individual's low self-worth.

Depressive disorders often heighten in the late teens or early 20s, possibly due in part to the major life changes an individual experiences as he or she moves into adulthood. One typical early side effect of depression is a lack of interest in life or enjoying any of its aspects. Such feelings may lead to withdrawal and sullenness.

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These symptoms, in turn, facilitate negative thought processes that feed into the depression further. An individual may develop an overall negative outlook, which affects how he or she thinks and makes decisions. A sense of futility may also result, wherein the individual simply views himself or herself as being helpless against forces beyond any control. Resignation then often takes over the mind.

Often the most devastating consequence of depression is suicidal thoughts. All of the side effects of depression and their physical, emotional, and mental stresses can lead to the ultimate feeling of helplessness and worthlessness. When an individual begins to seriously consider taking his or her own life, a major depressive episode is often in the making and immediate treatment is essential.

The causes of depression are often complicated and intertwined. Genetic vulnerabilities may come into play, particularly if one or more close relatives has experienced a mood disorder like depression. Stress also influences mood, as it can trigger irregular amounts of the body stress hormone called cortisol. This can then lead to alterations in brain chemicals like serotonin. In many cases, grief over the loss of a loved one is a primary stressor. Other factors can range from work difficulties to family tensions.

Depression treatment is often as unique and complex as the disorder itself. Some psychiatrists prescribe antidepressants to alleviate any brain chemistry changes. A majority of practitioners also finds some counseling therapies beneficial, such as cognitive or interpersonal therapy. In cognitive treatment, individuals can learn to reevaluate their negative thoughts and turn them into positives through keeping daily logs and completing homework assignments. Interpersonal therapy could help individuals focus on role disputes within their lives, such as dealing with the loss of a relationship, negotiating familial crises, and gaining social support systems.

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