Depression can be deadly.
Everyone has good and bad days. But if you are depressed, bad days are more than a good day. If depression is not treated, it can also be deadly. Although depression does not directly kill like tuberculosis, cancer, or any other fatal illness, it has adverse effects that indirectly lead to death.
Therefore, it is important that caregivers must understand the right time to seek help for themselves and their loved one.
Indirect Depression Deadly Effects
Suicide is the top indirect deadly effect of depression. In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the age of 15 to 44 years old.
Self-harm is one of the symptoms of depression. Depressed people might feel helpless. When hope is lost, death is seen as the only way to end depression misery.
According to statistics, an approximate of 65,300 people attempt suicide every year. This is evidence that many depressed people do not seek help. If you notice anyone around you is becoming suicidal, help them get help.
2. Drug and Substance Abuse
Unless you seek help when depressed, you might never know how to cope with the bad feeling. This is why most depressed people turn to alcohol or other drugs to soothe their sad feelings.
With time, they become addicts. The unhealthy dependency on drugs leads to other serious health issues. Dependence on drugs also complicates depression treatment. Both drug abuse and depression require different attention to deal with them.
Drugs themselves causes different health complications. Some of the complications are deadly. Therefore, if you know someone started taking drugs for no reason, find out if they are depressed. They could be relieving the pain of depression with drugs.
3. A Complication of Other Illnesses
Untreated depression increases the risk of dying from other illnesses. Depression affects people emotionally. As a result, patients who are depressed may not comply with their prescribed treatment. Some people might be violent to doctors or their caregivers. Others refuse to take their medication.
Depression also increases the risk of contracting some illnesses. Common diseases associated with depression include heart infections. The risk is higher than people who are not suffering from depression.
4. Poor Lifestyle Choice
When depressed, it’s challenging to make the right lifestyle choices. Depression leads to poor eating and sleeping habits. Depressed people may engage in other activities like smoking, drinking alcohol, and use of drugs. All of these poor lifestyle choices result in poor health. The risk of getting illnesses are also high.
When someone is depressed, it is not the end of life. As a caregiver, you should seek help for yourself and your loved ones. It can be treated.
Whenever you notice any signs of depression, seek medical attention. Depression is treatable with psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of two.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves talking about the feelings of depression with a mental health professional.
The therapy is usually done face-to-face with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Today, it can even be done online or over the phone. Through talking, a mental healthcare provider can recommend the best treatment for you.
The goals of psychotherapy are;
- Setting strategies for adjusting in crises
- Discovering how a person is feeling and replacing negative thoughts with healthier positive thinking
- Finding healthier ways to solve daily challenges
- Identifying the causes of depression in life and developing strategies to overcome them
- Setting realistic goals
- Reducing physical and mental depression symptoms
Medication is not always the first treatment option for depression. However, some extreme cases require medical attention. This is especially where a patient does not cope well with psychotherapy treatment.
In this case, the psychiatrist may recommend medication for the patient to ease the symptoms of depression. Common depression medications are mood stabilisers and antidepressants.
Hospitalisation is not necessary for treating depression. It can only be recommended where the patients are experiencing debilitating depression.
Suicide Prevention in Australia
There are support lines available 24/7 in Australia. Get help immediately when a person with depression shows suicidal or self-harm signs. Call the following lines for help.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
Depression kills if not treated. If you see any depression signs in someone’s life, help them get treatment.