For many years, it was believed that depression is only an illness of the mind. But recent studies have proved that it could very well be an illness of the body as well. It isn’t limited to emotional and mental factors but could be affecting the entire organism as a whole.
The University of Granada, Spain is leading a research where experts are trying to identify the links between the effects of depression on the mind as well as the body. This study could bring to light many other factors related to depression such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and high mortality rates in patients suffering from this mental health disorder due to high levels of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is caused due to the production of free radicals and the body’s inability to counteract the harmful effects through neutralization of antioxidants leading to an imbalance. Approximately 4000 participants were studied as part of this research and it was found that those undergoing treatment for depression showed reduced levels of malondialdehyde which indicated the lack of oxygen in the cell membranes. On the other hand, those who are suffering from depression and did not receive treatment displayed a higher level of malondialdehyde in their body. The study also proved that along with treatment for depression, the level of antioxidants in the body also increased thus helping to restore balance.
To summarise, this study helped researchers understand how depression can lead to oxidative stress in the body which further leads to other physical health problems some as serious as cancer. It can hence be understood that depression is as much an illness of the body as it is of the mind.
There have also been other researches that are studying other health problems associated with depression such as back aches, heart problems etc. Some studies have also proposed that stress is the factor that leads to both depression as well as physical health problems suggesting that depression may not be the cause, but in fact it is a larger problem in the whole that is affecting the mental and physical health of individuals.
There are many advances being made in the study of psychology and the symptoms, causes and effects of depression. However, the fact still remains that depression is a very common problem in society affecting a large part of the population and yet many often turn a blind eye to it. Through these studies scientists are trying to prove the connection between the mind and body with the hope that people will begin to give equal importance to mental as well as physical health.