Depression—Can it Really Make You Sick?

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that at least 16 million people had at least one major depressive episode in 2012.  That is 6.9% of the population. According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.

The number of people developing depression has increased steadily since 1915. The disease seems to be striking at an earlier age.  Major episodes of depression now occur frequently before the age of 25.

From 2008 to 2010, more than 8 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 reported a major depressive episode in the previous year. When it comes to gender, women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.

Other Interesting Facts About Depression:

  • Major depression is the most common mood disorder
  • It knows no cultural, social, or economic barriers
  • It is largely misunderstood
  • One out of three Internal Medicine patients has it
  • Proper treatment can effectively reduce or cure it
  • Most cases can be treated on an outpatient basis

Dr. Neil Nedley, an Internist who never considered adding the emphasis of depression to his list of Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Preventive Medicine, and difficult-to-diagnose patients, found that while he was treating people for the above issues, they would invariably show symptoms of depression.  If he only treated their physical symptoms, they would not improve or show little improvement.  If he worked on their mental health as well, their improvement made great progress.

Several years ago, Paul and I trained under him so we could teach Depression Recovery classes that focused on the importance of nutrition, supplementation, exercise and stress management as effective ways to improve daily living and mitigate the underlying causes of Depression.

Today, we are going to provide a quick overview of what Dr. Nedley believes are strong indicators of depression.  Next week, we will share some excellent recipes and methods to assist you and/or others who may be suffering from this ill-fated form of poor mental health.

Depression’s Hidden Dangers

It can increase the risk of:

  • Fatal stroke by 50%
  • Sudden cardiac death in heart attack survivors by 2.5 times
  • Death from cancer
  • Death from pneumonia

Following a Heart Attack:

If a recovering heart attack victim becomes depressed, his or her recovery is threatened.  It sharply increases the risk of dying within two years.

Following a Diagnosis of Cancer or How it Increases the Odds:

Good mental health may improve the chance of recovery from cancer. Depression weakens the immune system’s power to attack cancer cells. Older adults having depression for six years have a greater risk of developing cancer.

What Are the Effects of Depression?

  • Shrinks hippocampus (a major component of the brain)
  • Increases stress hormone levels
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Headache
  • Physical disability
  • Possible increase in seizures
  • Infertility
  • Decreases sex hormone levels
  • Difficulty controlling blood sugar in diabetes

Who knew?  Would you have ever guessed that poor mental health could have such a negative impact on your physical body?

We must remember that there are no lines that prevent our heart aches or our negative reactions from creating a deep, damaging effect on our physical health. Whether we have lost a job or a loved one, it is extremely important to work through the loss and not bury it.  And, if we know Jesus Christ, then we will never, ever feel the need to lose hope.

Next week, we will discuss the nutritional deficits of Depression.  We will also suggest various techniques that will naturally increase the hormone tryptophan which is so valuable for proper mental health.  We will provide you with resources and offer you a recipe that is healthy, tasty and capable of giving the depressed body/mind what it needs—proper nutrition!

Comments

  1. Carol Anderson May 25, 2016

    Dear Hallelujah Acres,

    Thank you so much for this article, I am looking forward to next week’s follow-up on proper nutrition.

    My daughter suffers from bi-polar disorder with depression and it is very debilitating. I need to impress her with your nutritional findings and hope she will see the light. She is a scientist that doesn’t “get” the connection between health and what we put in our bodies.

    Why is it that we don’t “see the light” before a major issue takes over our lives? Even when there is someone in the family who has been through it, the lesson of eating well is never really understood or applied. God bless you in your work to help us all understand the connection between health and what we eat.

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