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What Are the Dangers of Depression?
Depression by its very definition is a condition that affects every facet of your life, from your career and finances to you friendships and family. It is marked by irrational feelings of sadness and loneliness that persist for more than two weeks.
The good news is that it tends to be very responsive to a number of therapies, and so many of its negative consequences can be resolved. Unfortunately, the nature of the disease is such that people find it hard to spend the effort to go out and find help. When this happens, and the illness is left untreated, it can quickly become a very dangerous, even life-threatening condition.
What are the dangers of depression?
They include the following:
- Relationship Problems
Depressed persons may lash out at loved ones for no reason, or may isolate themselves, withdrawing completely from social interaction. The long-term consequence of this is that not only do your relationships atrophy, but you also fall out of practice in building and maintaining human relationships. This can make it harder to reintegrate with the world during recovery.
- Poor School and Work Performance
Depression makes it harder to concentrate, to make decisions, and to remember assignments. Coupled with low energy and lack of motivation these things lead to steadily worsening performance. This is one of the reasons to seek treatment as soon as possible.
- Other Health Concerns
People who are depressed are less likely to take care of themselves. They wash less often and may skip important appointments with doctors or dentists, leading to more serious health problems down the road. Depression can cause poor eating and weight fluctuations, and reduce immune efficiency makes the depressed person more vulnerable to illnesses.
- Reckless Behavior
Because depression distorts a person's sense of consequences, he or she might engage in activities that are obviously dangerous to a healthy person. This can include irresponsible drinking and unprotected sex.
The symptoms of true clinical depression almost never resolve themselves; they require treatment. In the absence of actual professional help, some people will try to treat themselves by self-medicating with whatever is at hand. This can lead to addiction to alcohol or a variety of other drugs.
A less common but no less serious danger is that of self-harm. By cutting or burning themselves, some depressed people seek to assert control over their own bodies and lives. Often, the goal is not permanent harm, although accidents do happen.
The most serious danger of all is that a depressed person might try take his own life. As one of the most common symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors are a clear indication that a person needs help. Although many who attempt suicide do not succeed on the first attempt, many do, so if there is even the slightest chance that you or someone you know might be thinking about it, you must seek professional intervention. Many communities having suicide hotlines, but in an emergency, you are always welcome to call 911.
These are only some of the dangers of depression. Fortunately, as noted above, it is a very treatable condition, and there are many professionals out there who can help. If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, take steps to find help immediately.
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