"Will my depression make me prone to other diseases?" is a common question I often hear. The answer, unfortunately, is in the affirmative.
Depression is associated with an increased risk of physical health issues like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and weight gain. It doesn't stop there, though.
A new study shows that people with depression have a higher risk of developing addiction problems, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, depending on their genetic risk of that disorder.
For example, someone with depression who is genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder is 32 times more likely to develop bipolar than other people without depression.
Also, depressed people with a genetic risk of schizophrenia have 14 times more chances of developing the disorder than others without depression.
We have established long before now that some individuals are more genetically predisposed to certain psychiatric disorders than other people. That's why some people are more susceptible to alcohol addiction than others, even when they drink the same. Also, how likely one is to develop schizophrenia can be influenced by their genes.
What the research shows is that if such a person already predisposed to that psychiatric disorder suffers from depression, they become much more likely to develop that disorder.
More on the research here.
But here's the good news. We know that early detection and treatment is one of the best ways to tackle mental health problems. So, if you currently suffer from depression, it's worth going for genetic testing to see if you're predisposed to some other health condition so you can start taking proactive steps to prevent that condition from ever developing.
For example, identifying a patient with depression and a risk of substance abuse problems can prompt the healthcare provider to take preventive measures to prevent substance abuse. This could be by carefully choosing prescription meds, recommending lifestyle changes, etc.
This also reinforces why we should never downplay how disruptive depression can be to our lives. It's not just sadness; it's more than just a mood swing. Depression has far-reaching effects that can impact life devastatingly. From heart problems to other psychiatric disorders, the risks are great.
You don't want that to be your experience.
If you or your loved one is battling depression and you're desperately looking for a way out, to get your life back, come, let's talk.
At Hope Mental Health, we are all about helping you on your journey to recovery, using medication, therapy, and more.
Reach out today to begin your journey towards perfect mental health and wellbeing.