Monday, February 6, 2023

Can Stress And Depression Make You Sick

Fatigue Or Consistent Lower Energy Levels

Psychoneuroimmunology | How Stress and Depression Make You Sick

Fatigue is a common symptom of depression. Occasionally we all experience lower energy levels and can feel sluggish in the morning, hoping to stay in bed and watch TV instead of going to work.

While we often believe exhaustion stems from stress, depression can also cause fatigue. However, unlike everyday fatigue, depression-related fatigue can also cause concentration problems, feelings of irritability, and apathy.

Dr. Maurizio FavaTrusted Source, Director of the Clinical Research Program at Bostonâs Massachusetts General Hospital, points out that depressed individuals often experience nonrestorative sleep, meaning that they feel sluggish even after getting a full night of rest.

However, because many physical illnesses, like infections and viruses, can also cause fatigue, it can be challenging to discern whether or not the exhaustion is related to depression.

One way to tell: While everyday fatigue is a sign of this mental illness, other symptoms like sadness, feeling hopeless, and anhedonia may also be present when you are depressed.

Other Causes Of Depression

There are a number of things that can lead to developing depression.

  • Stressful events big changes in your life, like bereavement, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, can be difficult to deal with. When these things happen, it’s important to keep seeing friends and family instead of trying to deal with problems alone this increases your risk of developing depression.
  • Giving birth pregnancy and birth can make some people vulnerable to depression. Postnatal depression can happen as the result of physical changes, hormonal changes, and the responsibility of taking care of a new baby.
  • Loneliness your risk of depression gets higher if you aren’t in contact or spending time with family and friends.
  • Personality some personality traits can put you at a higher risk of developing depression. These include low-self esteem or a habit of criticising yourself too much. These personality traits can come from your genes, which you get from your parents, or they can be as a result of experiences in your early life.
  • Family history it’s more likely for someone to develop depression if a family member, like a sibling or parent, has experienced it before.

The Stress Hormone Cortisol Plays A Role: Can Emotional Abuse Make You Sick

Studies show that prolonged stress leads to increased levels of the hormone cortisol, and after a while, this can lead to inflammation. Can emotional abuse make you sick? Chronic inflammation can lead to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

If your body is experiencing the symptoms of anxiety or depression you may be ready to evaluate your relationship or your job. As you begin to shift your attention inward, and start the healing process, exercise, meditation, yoga and tai chi can really help.

You will need to sift through your feelings and make sense of what has happened. Neurofeedback can help calm your nervous system so that you will be able to think things through and make decisions. It will help you feel resilient and calm your mind.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing can help you work through particularly stressful events. EMDR has been proved to desensitize you to the trauma and stress youve been through.

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Signs Stress Is Making You Sick

A little stress can actually be a good thing. In small spurts, its what motivates you to prep for a major test or work presentation, or makes your palms go sweaty in anticipation of a first date.

Too much stress, on the other hand, can be overwhelming and even detrimental to your physical health.

Just like our feelings give us information about our needs, so do our bodies through physiological feedback, says Eliza Chamblin, a therapist in New York City who specializes in stress management. If you are noticing any physical or somatic symptoms, consider it as valuable information telling you that something isnt right.

Not sure what those physical signs might be? Here are six potential indications that stress is making you sick, plus what to do for each situation.

You Break Out In Hives

How Anxiety &  Depression Affect Health

If youre suddenly covered in itchy red bumps, stress might be to blame. When your body experiences excessive stress your immune system gets wonky and your body starts releasing the chemical histamine to fight off your ailment. If the stress doesnt go away, you essentially develop an allergic reaction and, boom, hives galore. When your immune system is weakened by stress, your skin can also become irritated by things it never used to be sensitive to, such as soap, cold or heat, lotions, or laundry detergent.

What to do: Put a cool, damp towel on the affected area. if that doesnt work, take an antihistamine.

Wish you had more time to relax and de-stress your brain? Try these super-simple, totally healthy de-stressing activities.

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Can Stress Make You Sick

The short answer: yes. Stress can cause many physical symptoms and illnesses. Stress is a biological response to intense situations. When we experience stress, it causes our body to release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. When stress is chronic, cortisol levels stay elevated and if this is experienced for the long-term, it can contribute to a host of problems. If youre suffering from chronic stress, you run the risk of developing a slew of ailments such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • not being able to concentrate or focus

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed

The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.

Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .

When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.

Some symptoms of depression are:

  • low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
  • having less energy to do certain things,
  • losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
  • reduced concentration,

You may also find that with low mood you:

  • feel less pleasure from things,
  • feel more agitated,
  • find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
  • have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.

There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.

On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/

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Other Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Depression can affect your physical health in many different ways. In addition to the physical symptoms above, there are other potential illnesses you may experience when symptoms of depression are left untreated. These include:

  • Weight fluctuations resulting in obesity or nutritional deficiencies
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Reduced libido or lower sex drive
  • Increased menstrual pain
  • Chronic inflammation due to constrict blood vessels
  • A weakened immune system

We know that these symptoms may sound scary, and they certainly may cause concern. The good news is that depression is manageable, and you do not need to continue living with such psychological distress.

Dogs Can Smell Your Fear

Can Stress Make You Sick?

Weve heard time and time again that animals can smell our fear. Its often a line in movies during a suspenseful scene where one must be brave while hiding from or facing off against some manner of a dangerous beast. But is it true that animals can smell our fear, and if so, can dogs?

The answer appears to be yes. In 2017, a study was published that observed whether or not dogs could sense our emotions using their noses. This study collected sweat samples from men who were unrelated to the dog and would not otherwise be participating in the study.

The samples were collected while the men were in states of fear, happiness, and neutrality . When the dogs smelled the fearful sweat, they became fearful as well.

They sought comfort from their owners, made less social contact with the stranger in the room, and showed higher signs of stress than when they had smelled happy or neutral sweat. The dogs heart rates were also found to be higher.

Considering that anxiety can make you feel fearful, it is possible that a dog could smell this change in your body chemistry and either be affected by emotional contagion or attempt to comfort you.

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So What Role Does Your Mental Health Actually Play In Terms Of Your Physical Well

Before you can even begin to understand how anxiety affects the rest of your body, its important to have a general understanding of what anxiety even is. Scientifically speaking, Laura Rubin, Ph.D, a licensed clinical psychologist at Portsmouth Neuropsychology Center in New Hampshire, tells Elite Daily that anxiety is a neurobiological response that happens when your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. In other words, when a situation feels weird or off-putting to you, or a person is coming off really shady or untrustworthy, your brain picks up these cues, causing your nervous system to react.

And, according to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, when you feel overly anxious or stressed, itâs natural for your body to respond. In fact, she tells Elite Daily, itâs a chemical reaction that sparks these physical ailments, because chronic stress and anxiety can cause your body âto release adrenaline,â she explains, which suggests that, on top of feeling mental stress and anxiety, your physical well-being is going to react, too.

What Vitamins Help With Anxiety

B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin C, GABA, and 5-HTP are 5 vitamins commonly used to help with anxiety and stress. B-complex. B-complex contains all eight B vitamins. Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant. Vitamin C. GABA. 5-HTP. Before starting vitamins. The cortisol factor. Vitamins as a management tool.

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Why Does Anxiety Cause A Sick Feeling

In general, that sick feeling is caused by a number of different factors. Just a few of which include:

  • Standard Stress Response: Scientists believe that nausea, and some of the common feelings of illness, are the result of issues with related to the activation of the fight or flight response and the hormones related to stress, like cortisol.
  • Gut and Abdominal Pressure: Anxiety can also lead to increased muscle tension that causes pressure on the stomach and guts. It is possible that this pressure affects how your stomach feels and thus gives you a sick feeling.
  • Mild Illness: Your body fights off germs every day. Anxiety can weaken your immune system, increasing the risk of developing common minor illnesses. This may also contribute to a feeling of nausea and sickness.

Feeling ill is something that often causes concern. Some people feel so sick that they vomit or experience profound nausea that keeps them away from their activities. In this way, the physical effects of anxiety can cause further anxiety, creating a cycle.

Some people experience more than just nausea when anxious. They may experience other symptoms that are similar to catching a cold or flu. They may feel like their glands are swollen, or their tongue is dry. They may feel lightheaded. They may even cough or experience severe stomach discomfort, like indigestion.

Different Types Of Depression

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There are different types of depression, and there are some conditions where depression is a symptom. These conditions include:

  • Bipolar disorder people with bipolar disorder, which is also known as “manic depression”, experience times of depression, where the symptoms are similar to clinical depression. They also go through phases when they have excessively high moods . Bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour like unsafe sex, spending sprees and gambling.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is also called “winter depression”. It’s depression that is related to weather, usually winter, so it happens seasonally.
  • Postnatal depression happens to some women after they’ve had a baby. It’s treated similarly to other types of depression, with antidepressant medication and talking therapy.

Learn more about how depression is diagnosed here.

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Stomach Pain Or Uneasiness In The Abdomen

That sinking feeling in your stomach is one of the most recognizable signs of depression. However, when your abdomen starts to cramp, itâs easy to write it off as gas or menstrual pain.

Pain that worsens, especially when stress arises, may be a sign of depression. In fact, Harvard Medical School researchers suggest that stomach discomfort like cramps, bloating, and nausea may be a sign of poor mental health.

Whatâs the link? According to those Harvard researchers, depression can cause an inflamed digestive system, with pain thatâs easily mistaken for illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

Doctors and scientists sometimes refer to the gut as the âsecond brain,â because they have found a connection between gut health and mental well-being. Our stomachs are full of good bacteria and if thereâs an imbalance of good bacteria, symptoms of anxiety and depression may arise.

Eating a balanced diet and taking probiotics can improve oneâs gut health, which may enhance mood, too, but further research is needed.

When To See A Doctor

If anxiety-related nausea is interfering with your quality of life and you cant manage it on your own, its time to see your doctor. If its not due to a medical condition, ask for a referral to a mental health professional.

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point. There are steps you can take to lower stress and deal with occasional bouts of nausea.

There is help. Anxiety, nausea, and anxiety disorders can be identified and effectively managed.

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What If My Symptoms Dont Improve

If youre not responding to treatment, you may live with treatment resistant depression. This is when your symptoms have not improved after at least 2 standard treatments. This can also be known as treatment-refractory depression.

There is currently no official criteria used to diagnose treatment resistant depression.

What treatment is available for treatment-resistant depression?There are treatment options for treatment resistant depression. Even if antidepressants have not worked already for you, your doctor may suggest a different antidepressant from a different class.

The new antidepressant you are offered will depend on the first antidepressant you were given.

Sometimes your doctor can prescribe a second type of medication to go with your antidepressant. This can sometimes help the antidepressant work better than it does by itself.

Where antidepressants have not worked, your doctor may suggest talking therapies, ECT or brain stimulation treatments. See the previous section for more information on these.

What is an implanted vagus nerve stimulator, and how is it used in treatment resistant depression?If you live with treatment resistant depression, and youve not responded to other treatments, you may be able ask for an implanted vagus nerve stimulator.

Please speak to your doctor if youre interested in this treatment and for more information. You may be able to get this treatment funded through an Individual Funding Request.

  • NHS – Your Rights by clicking here.

Dogs Want To Comfort You

Depression symptoms can be subtle

A study published in the journal Learning & Behavior in 2018 suggests that many dogs want to comfort their humans. Unfortunately, the dogs that dont outwardly show concern are often so affected by their owners distress that they become unable to offer help.

The study placed owners behind a glass door held closed by magnets that could be opened easily by the dogs. Owners participated in a control trial where they simply hummed and a test trial where they pretended to cry.

Because most dogs naturally want to be with their owners, they were not more likely to go through the door if their owners were crying. However, they did go through the door significantly faster when their owners cried than when they hummed, suggesting that the dogs recognized distress and wanted to help.

Some of the dogs that didnt go through the door displayed stressed behaviors as if their owners distress was contagious to them. Researchers believed that the stress the dogs felt paralyzed them and rendered them unable to comfort their owners.

The researchers involved with the study feel that it provides evidence that dogs can feel empathy and are susceptible to emotional contagion and that this sometimes drives them to help their owners. However, the dogs must be able to suppress the stressful emotions that blossom in them due to their owners distress otherwise, they are too overwhelmed to help.

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Activities That Reduce Stress

It might seem impossible to take that first step and start a new activity right now, especially with the loss of interest in activities that depression brings. Take baby steps and challenge yourself.

The following activities can give your mood a boost:

  • an exercise that you enjoy and makes you feel good .

How Does Anxiety Affect Your Body

Anxiety affects your body in different ways that are defined as anxiety symptoms. When you feel overly anxious, many people feel a constriction in their pulmonary and respiratory systems, noticing an increase in their heart rate, a heaviness in the chest, or difficulty breathing. Others manifest their stress in their digestive system, with nausea, indigestion, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. The severity of the discomfort can range.

Anxiety is a natural response to danger or a threat. It happens when the brain releases neurotransmitters to prepare the body for fight or flight. When some of these neurotransmitters get into the digestive tract, they upset the gut microbiome, and this can cause stomach symptoms that include nausea. During a moment of high anxiety, you might feel just a bit queasy, like that butterflies in your stomach feeling you might have before giving a public presentation or going on a job interview. This kind of nausea may be brief, while other instances of anxiety-related nausea can make you totally sick to your stomach. Your upset stomach churns so much that you have to make a dash for the bathroom, even reaching the point of dry heaving or vomiting.

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