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Depression Complications

Are you worried about depression complications? Even for people who suffer with milder forms of depression, this mood disorder can affect many facets of their life. Clinical depression can complicate serious health conditions such as heart disease or cancer. Depression can lead to problems with pain, sexual desire and performance, and sleep. The more you know about depression complications, the more you'll understand why it's important to not let clinical depression go untreated.

What is depression?

Depression is a condition that generally is associated with being "stuck" in a mood of sadness or grief. Everyone gets sad from time to time. But clinical depression, which comes in many different forms, is typically characterized by a longer-than-normal duration of this sad or grievous mood.

What are symptoms of depression?

Symptoms of depression can vary with the type of depression a person has. While there are several types of depression, these are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Persistently sad mood, "feeling blue"
  • Feelings of hopelessness and a pessimistic outlook on life
  • Guilty feelings, feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of libido
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Decreased appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and other social activities
  • Fatigue, decreased energy
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pains

Why is depression common in people with chronic illness?

People with a chronic illness have difficulty adjusting to the demands of the illness. At the same time, they need to focus on the treatments for their condition. But the chronic illness may affect a person's mobility and independence. And it can change the way a person sees her or himself as well as the way the person relates to the outside world. So it's not surprising that studies indicate that as many as one out of every three people with a serious medical condition reports experiencing depression.

Clinical depression is one of the most common complications associated with chronic illnesses. In some cases, a chronic illness may actually lead to depression.

Depression caused by chronic illness often complicates the illness. That's especially true if the chronic illness is already causing some degree of pain and disruption in the person's life. Depression causes fatigue and a decrease in energy that may grow worse over time. Depression also has a tendency to force people to withdraw into social isolation.

Which chronic illnesses can lead to depression?

Any chronic condition may contribute to depression. There is, however, an increased risk with the severity of the illness and the level of disruption it causes. Statistically, the risk of depression is generally 10% to 25% for women and 5% to 12% for men. However, people with chronic illnesses face a significantly higher risk -- between 25% and 33%.

WebMD Medical Reference

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