People tend to think depression solely affects the mind because it’s classified as a mental disorder. However, according to the latest study by researchers at the University of Granada, depression is more like a systemic disease that affects the entire body.
A team of researchers led by the University of Granada decided to study what happens to the entire body of people who suffer from depression, and focused on stress factors. They conducted a meta-analysis, incorporating 29 previous studies composed of over 3,900 people. The researchers, led by Granada Ph.D. student Sara Jiménez-Fernández, compared patients with depression to healthy controls before and after treatment.
The study is the first to look into what happens to the entire body of someone who suffers from depression. What it found is that depression causes an imbalance in the body’s cells known as oxidative stress.
After a patient receives treatment for depression, the study found chemicals that indicate cell deterioration dropped from a previously high level, making people with depression indistinguishable from people without it.
Along with the typical mental symptoms that are associated with depression, the disorder can also cause difficulty sleeping, appetite or weight changes, lack of energy, even indigestion and constant headaches — all physical, often painful symptoms.
While people with depression have known for a long time that the disorder affects the whole body, this is the first study to prove that depression is actually a systemic disease rather than just a mental one.
The study results could even explain the link between depression and other illness, like heart disease and cancer, or any of the many physical impacts the disorder can have. Previous research suggests a clear link between a person’s mental health and physiological state. Depression may be linked with inflammation. Moreover, those with the disorder experience physical symptoms, such as gastrointestinal issues and severe headaches.
The results, while interesting are hardly surprising. If one is dealing with depression or anything affecting their mental state, the illness can, of course, manifest in physical symptoms causing discomfort and pain.
And should anyone tell you your aches and pains are unrelated, you now have the science to back it up. The main thing is to remember to listen to your body and take care of yourself.
Via Science Alert