The Long-term Effects of Not Seeking Treatment for Depression
What are the long-term effects of not seeking treatment for depression?
Depression can affect people of all ages and sex, but many people are not familiar with the symptoms associated with depression. More importantly, many people are not aware of all the treatment options available to address depression and what happens if it goes untreated.
It is helpful for persons suffering from depression to better understand the illness and the long-term impact depression has when not treated early.
What is Depression?
Depression is a complex and severe medical illness that causes persistent sadness, hopelessness, and distressing symptoms in the body. These symptoms can negatively impair your ability to regulate your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe and include insomnia, poor focus, tiredness, anger, poor cognition or problems remembering information, and thoughts of death or suicide.
But what causes depression? As the brain’s emotional control center, the Salience Network delivers signals to and from the areas of the brain that determine how we act, react, and respond to situations, thoughts, and feelings. When a person is suffering from a depressive disorder, often, the signals that would typically regulate mood and emotions cannot effectively make their way back across the Salience Network. This communication problem can contribute to symptoms of depression.
For patients suffering from depression, it is vital to seek out treatment early to avoid the risks associated with not seeking treatment.
What are the long-term social consequences of not seeking treatment?
As humans, having social interaction is a vital part of our health and wellness. Not seeking treatment for depression can negatively impact or impair a person’s relationship with friends, coworkers, and family members.
Untreated depression can make it challenging to develop new relationships or maintain existing ones. According to Dr. Nancy Donachie of SMART Health and Wellness, people with long-term untreated depression sometimes begin isolating themselves from others. When a person has depression, the basics in life, like having a simple conversation with someone, can feel impossible.
Untreated depression can often cause patients to become closed off or anti-social. When this happens, work performance and personal relationships tend to fall apart or end.
What are the physical effects of untreated depression?
Untreated depression is a definite threat to your physical health, and the risk is higher the longer your condition goes untreated. There is plenty of evidence that demonstrates the full range of effects on the body associated with depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients with untreated long-term depression are more prone to sleep disruptions, heart disease, weight gain or loss, weakened immune system, and physical pain.
Depression can result in an unhealthy cycle. Long term untreated depression affects a person’s ability to care for their basic health needs. When this happens, and we don’t take care of ourselves, it can leave us vulnerable to other illnesses. Research has even shown that people with depression have more difficulty benefitting from the treatment of other medical conditions and diseases.
Severe cases of depression can even lead to thoughts of suicide, with the risk of acting on these thoughts if left untreated. It’s crucial that you are aware of the symptoms of depression and don’t wait until they’re severe to seek help
What are the best ways to treat early?
True depression is not something you can snap out of, even if you’re able to function despite your symptoms. Developing the right treatment plan starts with a better understanding of your symptoms and receiving an accurate diagnosis. It is essential to seek the help of a professional psychiatrist when seeking help for your depression.
There is a wide range of treatment options for patients suffering from depression. It’s imperative to work with your provider to develop a comprehensive approach to treating your depression. We know that there is not a one size fits all model for treating depression, so one or more of the following options may be needed.
There are several types of therapy your doctor may recommend, and each one has evidence to support their application in alleviating depression symptoms. Therapy can be useful in treating your depression by helping you better recognize your depressive thinking and teaching/training you on new coping skills to help. There are many forms of talk therapy, check out Psychology Today for information on all of them.
Often recommended to help depression symptoms are medications. However, many patients find the side effects of medications to be challenging to deal with, often to the point that the patients decide to abandon treatment for depression. It’s important to discuss medications and treatments in detail with your provider before moving forward.
Alternative treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are options for treating depression. TMS therapy offers a non-invasive, drug-free opportunity for patients dealing with treatment-resistant depression. Research has also shown TMS therapy to be helpful with anxiety as well. TMS Therapy uses magnetic pulses to strengthen neuronal activity and connectivity in the salience network. By restoring the salience network as a result of improving the communication of your neurons in this network, people often experience improvement with their depression and other symptoms associated with depression.
At Salience TMS, our expert team can help individuals avoid the long-term problems associated with not seeking treatment for depression. We encourage patients to reach out to us and learn about TMS therapy and to find out if they are a candidate for treatment. For more information or to schedule a no-cost consultation, contact us online or call us at (214) 880-8778.