The Effects of Anxiety and Depression on Your Physical Health

Anyone who suffers from depression is familiar with the feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair that may accompany the illness. People with anxiety are similarly well-versed in its symptoms of excessive worry, agitation, restlessness, and more. 

What you may not realize, though, is that these mental health issues can cause physical problems as well.

At SunSouth Medical Center, our highly trained doctors and staff provide state-of-the-art care using methods such as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges at our Morrow, Georgia location.

Depression and anxiety

Psychological issues are a challenge for many in the United States. Depression strikes more than 16 million Americans at least once in their lives, while almost 1 in 5 American adults have experienced an anxiety disorder in the last year alone. 

In addition to the mental and emotional repercussions, these issues can affect your physical health too.

Physical effects of depression

Depression can constrict blood vessels, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. In people who actually suffer a heart attack, those with depression are more likely to die.

Digestive issues can occur, including overeating and bingeing, which can lead to weight gain and problems like Type 2 diabetes. Depression can also cause you to lose your appetite, resulting in weight loss, stomachaches, constipation, and malnutrition.

Depression may affect your immune system and leave you less able to fight off everything from infections like the common cold to more serious problems. It can also affect your libido and decrease your interest in sex.

Anxiety's physical issues

The digestive disorders irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia (upset stomach) affect 10-20% of people in the US who have anxiety.

Like depression, anxiety can also affect your heart health. Women who had the highest level of anxiety were almost 60% more likely to have a heart attack and 31% more likely to die from one than women who had the lowest level of anxiety. 

In addition, people who had been diagnosed with heart disease and had an anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who did not have an anxiety disorder.

Getting help

Finding professional assistance is key to managing mental health issues and to improving your physical condition. Medication might play a role in treating depression, but it shouldn’t be your only option. We offer several non-invasive treatments with no side effects.

If you're suffering from depression and/or anxiety and haven't found relief with therapy or medication, click here to book an appointment to help improve your mental — and physical — health.

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