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Depression Complications

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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%.

How frequently does depression complicate a chronic illness?

The rate for depression occurring with other medical illnesses is quite high. Here are some examples:

  • With heart attack, 40% to 65% of patients experience depression.
  • The rate of depression for both Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis is 40%.
  • As many as 25% of patients with cancer and patients with diabetes experience depression.
  • In patients with coronary artery disease who have not had a heart attack, the rate of depression ranges from 18% to 20%.
  • For stroke patients, the rate ranges from 10% to 27%.

How is pain related to depression?

Clinical depression causes many physical symptoms, including physical pain. The mind controls the body, and a person's emotions can have an impact on the body's major functions. Pain associated with depression can range from unexplained headaches to neck pain to abdominal pain

 

Why does depression complicate sex?

Both depression and some depression medications can cause sexual problems. Depression has a tendency to reduce the sex drive and affect personal relationships. On top of that, depression medications have been shown to also reduce libido.

Studies have shown that some antidepressant medications can have an adverse effect on your sexual desire. Ingredients in some antidepressants interfere with the chemicals that are responsible for sexual response. 

For in-depth information, see WebMD's Depression and Sex.

What are sleep complications associated with depression?

Insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep) is a major symptom of depression. The inability to get a good night's sleep can have serious consequences on the human body. This is especially true if someone already has other depression symptoms such as fatigue and low energy.

Someone who suffers from insomnia for a long period of time should be checked for other symptoms of depression. Sleep medications are sometimes prescribed for people suffering from depression and insomnia. Excessive sleeping or sleepiness may also be a symptom of depression.

For in-depth information, see WebMD's Sleep and Depression.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 04, 2013
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