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Can stress cause depression?

In everyday life, we face many adverse situations where we all have to yell ‘I’m stressed’. Man! Stress is a part of everyday routine. A bit of stress or a moderate level of stress is good for a person. It keeps us mindful and provocative. It prepares us to deal with unfavorable situations in life. Like if you have a work deadline, you are stressed. Oh dear! This kind of stress is normal. But chronic stress can cause depression.

Want to win the race but nervous and stressed?

Are stress and depression interconnected?

Stress is a natural psychological and physical reaction to positive and negative situations that happens in everyday life. Such as getting a new job, an illness or loss of dear ones. This kind of stress is not harmful. However, the important thing is how do we deal with it?

Stressful events have a physical, mental, and emotional impact on your body and mind. Therefore, if you fail to cope with them, chronic stressful life situations can affect you considerably. It can increase the risk of developing depression, especially in susceptible people.

Does chronic stress have an impact on a person’s life?

Yes, chronic stress has a direct effect on the overall quality of your life.

  • It can wear you down, overwhelm you
  • You may frequently be in a bad mood
  • Your productivity may decrease
  • Your relationships may suffer
  • You may develop sleep problems
  • You may even find it difficult to perform your routine chores
  • It can affect your health, causing symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure,  chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep.

Studies have shown that stress reduces the brain’s natural ability to keep itself healthy. As a result, the “hippocampus,” which is a vital part of the brain, shrinks. It has a negative impact on our short-term memory functions and learning abilities. 

Stress has its own physiological consequences. It set off a chain of chemical reactions and responses in the body. If the stress is short-term, the body usually returns to normal. But when stress is chronic, changes in the body and brain can be long-lasting and terrible/devastating.

What Is Depression?

The American Psychiatric Association has defined term depression as “ It is a (major depressive disorder or mood disorder) common and serious medical illness, that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act”. Depression can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems that may decrease a person’s ability to function daily life activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

People diagnosed with depression have the following symptoms, persistent for at least two weeks.

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once you enjoyed well
  • Appetite pattern changes — weight loss or weight gain unrelated to diet changes
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Involve in purposeless physical activities such as hand-wringing or pacing
  • Speech and movements are slowed (observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Death or suicidal thoughts

Does the stress necessarily lead to depression state?

Not everyone who faces stress develops a mood disorder—depression. In fact, most do not, yet stress plays an important role in depression. It is your genetic makeup that influences how sensitive you are to stressful life events. A person’s genetics, his/her biology, and strenuous life situations together can result in a depression episode.

Causes of depression:

Depression has many possible causes. Some of them are genetics, brain chemicals, imbalance, and your lifestyle.

Several factors can play a role in depression:

Brain Biochemistry:

Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression. Being aware of brain biochemistry can help many people to fight depression.

Genetics:

Depression can tend to run in families. For instance, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70% chance of having this illness sometimes in life.

Personality:

People who lack self-assurance are easily overwhelmed by stress. Those who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.

Environmental factors:

Continuous exposure to violence, abuse, negligence or poverty may be a risk factor for depression in many people.

Related: What can cause anxiety in adults?

What is the connection between stress and depression?

The connection between stress and depression is complex and indirectly linked. Stressed people often neglect their healthy lifestyle practices. They may smoke, drink more than usual, and neglect regular exercise. Stress, or being stressed out, leads to negative and unhealthy behaviors and patterns. Which in turn, can lead to a chronic stress burden and increase the risk of major depression.

Well! What is in your hand to manage your stress condition?

Stressful life events and one’s own conception and perception to cope with stress are prospects of developing the risk of depression. All you can do is your lifestyle modification.

Here are 5 easy DIY hacks you need to practice. You will learn how to reduce the impact of stress to manage your symptoms. Thus the risk of developing depression in the future would be less.

1. Physical activities:

Physical activities such as exercise, outdoor games, meditation, mind-body practices, prayer, breathing exercises, and yoga. Experts recommend that half an hour of moderate exercise, such as walking or swimming five days a week. It produces chemicals in the body that boost your mood. Physical activities generate pleasant feelings and help you to reduce stress. Routine participation in aerobic exercises decreases overall levels of tension. Also, it helps to elevate and stabilize mood. Thus, improve sleep and self-esteem.

2. Eat well:

Eat healthy meals. Take your meals at proper schedules, never skip them. Stressed people may drink too much to overcome their tension, but remember that alcohol is a mood suppressor, avoid using it as much possible.

3. Sleep:

An eight-hour restful sleep is a must to balance the hectic day workload or the daily grind. Sleeping well not only reduces stress but also lifts up your mood. In addition, it helps you perform well in daily life activities.

4. Build Strong and supportive relationships:

Isolation is one of the risk factors for depression. Whereas community buffers people from the effects of affliction. Negative, critical relationships are harmful.

Stay away from toxic people!

5. Self-absorption:

Self-absorptionnot always bad!

Schedule some downtime to pursue creative and leisure pursuits or your sideline amusement tasks. Multitasking life is stressful. Take breaks from work and schedule mini-vacations. Try to enjoy your own company.

Get self-absorbed for a while!

Related: How to stop anxiety attacks at night?

To summarize, relaxation techniques will assist you in the treatment of phobias, panic disorder, and depression. These techniques will also provide you relief in stressful situations.

Tayaba Sarfraz

Dr. Tayaba Sarfraz

Medical Doctor | Medical Educationist & Writer Mommy of 2 | Master chef | Health Enthusiast

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