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Stress & Depression: How Chronic Stress Can Lead To Depression

Written by Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi on Fri, 11 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • Depression is a mood disorder that may alter how one can feel and behave.
  • Constant stress, loss of appetite, insomnia, and harming yourself are common symptoms of depression.
  • Stress and chronic stress are major causes of depression.
  • Due to stress brain function and hormones change and the person will feel more vulnerable.
  • Stress management is a useful strategy to manage stress and prevent depression.
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You and your family are ready to enjoy the horse riding festival. Costumes are ready, and you are looking forward to tomorrow being a great day. But your sister has somehow not been feeling well.

She is not excited about the festival and does not talk to anyone in the family. She does not look physically ill, but does look visibly stressed and somewhat sad. Could she be having an issue with her fiancรฉ, you wonder?

Stop, do not judge her. Think how and what you can do to help her. But first, read below to know about depression and how stress may lead to depression.

Understanding depression

Depression is a medical condition that affects mood and causes a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

Depression may affect how you feel, and behave and can lead to emotional and physical issues. You might feel doing nothing affects your productivity at work, a change in appetite, sometimes people may feel life isn't worth living.

Types of depression

Depression is not something that comes and snaps out the other day. It gets worse and lasts longer sometimes. According to patient experience and causes, there is a different types of depression, such as

  1. Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  2. Bipolar depression
  3. Perinatal and postpartum depression
  4. Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
  5. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  6. Psychotic depression
  7. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression 
 

  • Depression affects your emotions, mind, and body.
  • Symptoms included in depression are:
  • Feeling stressed on a single condition
  • Constant Sadness, hopelessness
  • Frustrated with life and the current situation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbance (insomnia)
  • Difficulty in concentrating, remembering, and focusing on important things
  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself

Causes of depression

Depression is a chronic condition that can be caused by various factors, such as genetics, childhood trauma, chronic stress, brain chemistry, ongoing medical condition, and personality.

  • Genetics: If your parents or direct relatives have depression, you may be more likely to get depression.
  • Childhood trauma: Child abuse, child labor, and violence against a child can put a significant effect on the child's mind and behavior. The loss of a loved one in childhood may also put a child in trauma and these events accumulate and cause depression later in life.
  • Chronic stress: A major cause of depression is stress. Getting over-stressed by traumatic situations, isolation or lack of support from family causes depression.
  • Medical conditions: Ongoing medical illness can cause depression. Diabetes, hypertension, Parkinson's disease, infection, and lack of medical support may cause depression.
  • Personality: Soft-hearted, sensitive, overthinkers, and easily overwhelmed people may be prone to depression.

Stress is the leading cause of building depression

The worst kind of sadness is you are not able to explain it. In your day-to-day life, you might experience various kinds of stress, forgetting the gas stove on, getting late for office, having financial problems, health issues, rejections, work pressure, lack of understanding in family, extramarital affairs, miscarriage, and so on.

A person juggling so many things in a day makes him stressed, and stress has a direct effect on the mood. Early symptoms of stress may include irritation, sleep disturbance, and cognitive change. The indirect effects of stress on the body often can cause depression to take place.

When a person experiences stress, he stops thinking about healthy coping strategies and gets stuck in one thought of stress. Lack of interest holds him back and he cannot start an exercise or any productive activities. This makes him more inactive and lethargic. chronic stress may affect the mood, behavior, and body of a person, this may lead to early depression.

Constant stress and sadness have adverse effects on mental health. anxiety attacks, palpitation, sexual dysfunction, and suicidal thoughts all are leads to clinical depression.

During stressful conditions, our brain goes through so many changes, including increased availability of corticotropin-releasing hormones, cortisol, hyperactivity of the amygdala, and hypoactivity of the hippocampus all these together result in increased vulnerability to stress.

The presence of this vulnerability develops depression in response to stressful events.

Strategies to manage stress and prevent depression

A person with clinical depression may need medications, such as antidepressants, to treat depression. But there are various natural methods that can help you to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of further experience.

stress and prevent depression 
 

Some effective strategies to prevent depression and its leading cause of STRESS.

1. Avoid stress

People who have chronic stress are more susceptible to developing depression. By avoiding stress, like reading books that engage you and help you with overthinking, saying no to stressful events, saying back to over workload, taking a break from work, doing more of your favorite activities, getting yourself involved in creative thinking, relaxing for some moment when you feel stressed out.

Avoiding stress and putting yourself in creative things help you avoid the risk of depression.

2. Don't be lazy, move your body

Nowadays, people who do not have access to the gym and any workout training, just stay back at home. But instead of that, you may start some with some easy stretches, yoga poses, and exercise at your home by yourself.

People who have stress are more likely to be inactive. Don't do this, if you are not feeling to do something, push yourself. This will help you to prevent any further damage to your body.

Do exercise, do yoga, dance, do Zumba, or do a traditional dance. The main motive is to move and relax your body from stress and be active.

3. Eat healthy for better mood

Food has a direct effect on your physical and mental health. Do not indulge in processed food items to be healthy. Processed food is very harmful to your body and mind. It induces laziness and reduces your mental productivity.

Include all healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, complex carbs, fats, vitamins, nuts, and home-cooked food in your daily diet.

You can try to make your boring food more interesting by adding some spices and herbs, trying new recipes, and making it more presentable so that you can't resist eating healthy food. Eat healthy and yummy food to reduce depression.

4. Get enough sleep to deal with a new day

Stress, anxiety, and depression may hit you at night time, and you start worrying about things that will affect your goodnight's sleep.

Do not let your anxiety affect your sleep. You can include a healthy nighttime routine where you can have a good bath and relax your body, apply some moisturizer, add some scented candles in your room for a pleasant fragrance, and write down your thoughts in a gratitude journal.

Also, dim your lights, and do 10 minutes of meditation to completely relax.

5. Avoid common triggers

If you are aware of your depression and anxiety, you should start avoiding all the common things that trigger your anxiety.

Set a particular routine to avoid getting late to the office, complete your targets on time, maintain your expenses to avoid financial issues, maintain a loving healthy relationship with your loved one, get enough sleep and live a healthy life.

6. Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing can calm your nerves and improve your mood. If you are stressed a quick 5 to 6 deep breaths can make you calm and relaxed.

7. Manage social media time

Social media has a good opportunity to connect with people from different countries.

But social media also has negative effects. Very often, by watching everyone having fun you tend to feel bad; social media also reduces face-to-face communication and that leads to misunderstanding.

Mindless scrolling can also make you lazier and you waste most of your precious time on it. So take up the charge and watch your time spent on social media.

8. Laugh more to live more

Laughing is the ultimate medicine for our body. As we laugh, we open up our lungs and heart for more oxygen. And as you get more oxygen, your body and mind too will heal faster.

Even if you are stressed and not feeling happy about anything, trying to laugh makes some difference in your condition.

9. Connect with other people

Sharing is caring, this not only goes with food but also with feeling. As much as you share your problems and thoughts with others, you will feel lighter.

If you feel anxious and depressed often, consider talking to your family and friends or consult a healthcare provider.

10. Seek counseling

Do not hesitate to seek help for your mental condition, there is a stigma around depression. You should break this stigma and get help. Go to a therapist or psychiatrist for counseling; talk with them and figure out what is bothering you. Seeking help does not make you weak it will make you more stronger and self-confident.

Conclusion

Some times, chronic stress and depression go hand in hand. Overstress may alter the pattern of working in your brain. That may lead to depression.

Depression is a chronic mood disorder, where constant sadness cover you from all side and you feel vulnerable, isolated, and having suicidal thoughts.

If you are feeling any symptoms related to stress, try to manage it as a priority to prevent depression. You can use some strategic good habits to overcome the symptoms of depression, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

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Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi

Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi is a pharmacist by profession; her health credentials include a BPharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy). Blessing is a resident of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

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