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|How Depression & Anxiety Affect Your Body
Most people think of depression and anxiety as conditions of the mind, influencing one’s mood and outlook on life. But that’s only part of the story. For many people, the more common manifestations of depression are physical, not mental, and they can have long-term consequences as well.
Headache. Chronic headaches, particularly tension headaches, occur frequently in people with depression and anxiety. Headaches are most likely caused by contracting the muscles of the scalp and neck, which is a common physical reaction when you’re under emotional stress.
Diarrhea/constipation. Anxiety is often linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can manifest as diarrhea or constipation. It’s possible that anxiety may make you more aware of spasms in your colon or that anxiety affects the immune system and may trigger symptoms of IBS.
Nausea/vomiting. These may be considered symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. One large study found that 41 percent of people who had major complaints of nausea in the past year were eventually diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and 24 percent were diagnosed with depression.
Heart disease. People who become depressed after a heart attack are at increased risk for a second, fatal heart attack, while people without heart disease who become depressed increase their risk of developing or dying of heart disease. The heart-mind link may also include anxiety, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation and behavioral issues, as people who are anxious or depressed are less likely to engage in heart-healthy activities like exercising and healthy eating and more prone to weight issues and smoking.
Osteoporosis. People with major depression may have lower bone mineral density, a measure of the strength of the bones, than those with no mood disorders.
High blood pressure. Evidence suggests that chronic anxiety may lead to high blood pressure. Anxiety is likely to produce temporary spikes in blood pressure rather than persistent hypertension. Frequent spikes can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys and increase your risk of a stroke.
I will be mostly off-line (more or less) for a while. Dear Husband is gravely ill and in the VA Hospital with heart troubles.
I’ll check in now and again…and please know I haven’t forgotten you and your beautiful words and images, I’m just pre-occupied.
Amongst other life-style changes, DH must quit drinking alcohol. Well he hasn’t had any after Saint Patrick’s Day and arriving in the Emergency Room on Monday …. And him with 30 gallons of mash in the barn, this minute.
I noticed, when I brought some flowers from our yard, that, as far as I could see by peaking in rooms I passed and there being NO florist cart anywhere, that the flowers I brought were the only ones in the entire building.
All of those veterans stuck inside in the Spring, and no one even had any flowers in their rooms seemed so sad, to me. If you have time, take a small boquette of fresh flowers to a VA hospital. It wouldn’t take a lot of effort. I used a cleaned out shiny “soup can” as a vase. Maybe just place them on a nurses station, so everyone passing by can enjoy… or give to some lonesome, abandoned looking bed-ridden veteran (ask a nurse, first, just to make sure it won’t create some sort of health problem).
In the VA Hospital, where my husband is, I want to say that the staff is a most competent caring staff, the housekeeping is outstanding, and the cardiologists are superior, there is even a surprisingly good library. Even the tile-work in the patient bathrooms is attractive and well done. And clean. That is one clean facility.
Thank you for all you have done