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Long Term Effects of Untreated Mental Illness

Deciding whether to get treatment for a medical issue isn’t always a luxury you want to extend. For instance, a tiny cut that barely draws blood doesn’t call for an ER visit. But antibiotic cream and band-aids won’t help everything. Mental health illnesses like depression are often attributed to a bad patch, temporary stress at work, you name it. Whether you think you can handle it or have found another reason to avoid treatment, it’s all a dangerous game. The long-term effects of untreated mental illness reach farther than you may think, and its dramatic impact can be devastating.

Effects on the Mind

Depressed man sitting alone, sadness

Clinical depression is classified as a mental disorder, but it also affects your physical health, mood, thoughts, and well-being. Not treating your depression can cause symptoms to worsen and lengthen depressive episodes. The feelings of sadness and hopelessness can grow to a point where you can’t even explain it. You may lose sleep, which starts a domino effect for chronic fatigue, irritability, decreased libido, and more.

Those with untreated depression are also at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse and reckless or abusive behavior. Untreated depression can also increase the chances of suicide.

Effects on the Body

Untreated depression causes many sufferers to overeat or binge, which increases your risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. You may even have no appetite at all, or fail to eat enough nutritious foods. This can lead to issues like cramps, malnutrition, stomachaches, and constipation.

Heart disease and depression, man walking tightrope to heart

Heart and immune systems are affected as well from the stress response being closely related to depression. The stress response causes the heart to beat faster and blood vessels to tighten. The stress response was designed to help our bodies think and act quickly in emergent or dangerous situations. However, with depression, the body remains in this heightened state, leading to heart disease. Your immune system becomes more vulnerable to infections making it harder for your body to prevent infections and recover from them.

It’s Not Worth It

Treatments for depression are effective 60-80 percent of the time. With the dangers of not seeking help laid out before you, isn’t it time you took care of YOU? Sometimes it can be hard just putting one foot in front of the other when you’re depressed. While many people experience relief from treatment, finding the right options for you may take time. That’s why clinical research studies are needed to continue advancing opportunities for mental illnesses like depression.

Depression, woman, sadness

Participating in research helps improve healthcare for mental disorders and gives you a chance to control your health. To learn more about upcoming depression studies here at Woodland Research Northwest, visit our website.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/effects-on-body

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/untreated-depression-effects#1

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