Unexpected Benefits of Depression Treatment

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on February 04, 2011
Sources: © 2011 WebMD

Better Sleep

Depression can rob you of rest by making it hard to fall asleep or by waking you up too soon. That leaves you dragging the next day. And more important, lack of sleep can make depression more severe. Treatment for depression can help improve sleep.

Better Love Life

Some antidepressants may dampen the libido. But often, the bigger roadblock to a happy love life is depression itself. One study showed that 70% of people with depression reported a loss of sexual interest while not taking medicine. Treatment may help restore your self-confidence and strengthen your emotional connection with your partner.

Pain Relief

Treatment for your depression can make you feel better emotionally and may reduce pain. That’s because depression can contribute to the discomfort of pain. Studies have found that people who have conditions like arthritis and migraines actually feel more pain -- and are more disabled by it -- if they're depressed. Seeking treatment may help provide relief.

Improved Health

If you are depressed, getting treatment may help prevent some serious diseases down the road. That’s because depression can take a toll on your body. One study found that women who were depressed had double the risk of sudden cardiac death than women who weren’t. Getting treatment may help lessen health risks.

Better Performance at Work

Depression can make it hard to hold a job. If you’re depressed, you might lose focus at work and make more mistakes. If you think depression might be affecting you at work, getting help now could head off serious problems.

Sharper Thinking and Better Memory

Feeling forgetful? Does your thinking seem fuzzy? Experts have found that depression might cause structural changes to the areas of the brain involved in memory and decision-making.
The good news is that depression treatment may prevent or reverse these changes -- clearing away the cobwebs and strengthening your recall.

Happier Home Life

Irritable and angry? Constantly snapping at your kids -- and then feeling bad about it? Getting depression treatment can help boost your mood. And that can help reduce tension around the house and improve your relationship with your family.

Healthier Lifestyle

Why does depression cause some people to gain weight? In part, it’s behavioral -- you may withdraw and become less active, or turn to food for comfort. It’s also physiological -- low levels of certain brain chemicals can trigger a craving for carbs. Getting treatment may change that while giving you the energy to exercise and eat well.

Less Chaos, More Control

When depression zaps your energy, even the most basic tasks -- like vacuuming or paying the bills -- can become impossibly hard. The more chaotic things get, the less capable you feel. Depression treatment can restore the energy you need to take control of your life and get it organized.

Lower Risk of Future Depression

People who have been depressed have a higher risk of becoming depressed again. But ongoing therapy or medication may help prevent depression from coming back. Even if it does return, treatment now will prepare you. You’ll know the early signs. You’ll know some coping skills. And you’ll know where to get help.

Stronger Ties With Friends & Family

Treating depression may improve your social life. Depression isolates people. It can sap your self-esteem, making you feel unlikeable. While therapy and medication can help restore some of that lost confidence, you still need to decide to reach out. Reconnecting to old friends when you’re depressed -- not to mention making new ones -- is hard. But it’s a crucial part of getting better.

Getting Help

Some people with depression try to wait it out, hoping it will get better on its own without treatment. That's a mistake. Studies have found that the longer depression lasts, the worse your symptoms may get and the harder it is to treat.
See your doctor. Schedule an appointment with a therapist. The sooner you get help, the better your odds for a healthy future.

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