Know “The Stress-Depression Connection”

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Can stress cause depression? Yes, there is a link that exists between the two and you need de-clutter your life to improve your stress level.

Stress — whether chronic, such as taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s, or acute, such as losing a job or the death of a loved one — can lead to major depression in susceptible people. Both types of stress lead to overactivity of the body’s stress-response mechanism.
Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.

When the stress response fails to shut off and reset after a difficult situation has passed, it can lead to depression in susceptible people.

No one in life escapes event-related stress, such as death of a loved one, a job loss, divorce, a natural disaster such as an earthquake, or even a dramatic dip in your 401(k). A layoff — an acute stressor — may lead to chronic stress if a job search is prolonged.

Loss of any type is a major risk factor for depression. Grieving is considered a normal, healthy, response to loss, but if it goes on for too long it can trigger a depression. A serious illness, including depression itself, is considered a chronic stressor.
Understanding the psychological mechanisms of how stress can lead to depression can help you prevent it. This is especially important for people who have had a prior episode of depression and would like to prevent relapse.

Stressed or Depressed? Know the Difference

Here are common signs of stress and depression which tell you the difference

• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Problems with memory
• Problems concentrating
• Change in eating habits
• Feeling nervous or anxious
• Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
• Feeling burned out from studying or schoolwork
• Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
• Trouble functioning in class or in your personal life
Common Signs of Depression
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Problems with memory
• Problems concentrating
• Change in eating habits
• Feeling nervous or anxious
• Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
• Feeling burned out from studying or schoolwork
• Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
• Trouble functioning in class or in your personal life
• Withdrawing from other people
• Feeling sad and hopeless
• Lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation
• Trouble making decisions
• Being restless, agitated and irritable
• Eating more or less than usual
• Sleeping more or less than usual
• Trouble concentrating
• Trouble with memory
• Feeling bad about yourself or feeling guilty
• Anger and rage
• Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
• Trouble functioning in your class or in your personal life
• Thoughts of suicide

9 Signs Your Stress Has Turned Into Depression

Unfortunately, dealing with stress on a daily basis is unavoidable. Whether you’re stressed out about excelling at work, paying off your loans, keeping your relationships healthy, or you’re grieving a loss of some sort, coping with stress is just part of being human. But it’s important to keep in mind that prolonged stress can lead to a wide array of mental and physical health problems, such as depression. Since depression not only disrupts your life and relationships, but can also be life-threatening, it’s imperative that you learn how to read the signs that your stress has turned into depression.

So if you think your stress has lead to depression, know that it’s not “all in your head.” Additionally, be aware that many signs of stress can double as signs of depression. Here’s how you can tell that it’s more than just stress.

You’ve Withdrawn From Socializing
When you stop socializing altogether, though, that’s a sign your stress has turned into, or is leading to, depression. So if you’ve withdrawn from socializing period, even with the people you normally really enjoy being around, you’re probably dealing with more than just stress.

You Feel Bad About Yourself
If you feel bad about yourself all the time, even when you’re working hard and trying to take care of yourself, then you’re more than stressed out.
You’re Having A Lot Of Trouble Remembering Things
If you’ve been having issues with your memory for a while now, and it doesn’t seem to be improving with time, then you could be suffering from depression.

You’ve Been Sleeping Way More Or Way Less For Weeks
If your sleeping problems have continued for weeks rather than just a few days, then it’s more likely you’re dealing with depression than stress.

You’re Super Indecisive
Extreme stress can make you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where or how to begin checking off your various “To Do” lists. When stress turns into depression, though, it can become more difficult than ever to make decisions.

You’re Angry A Lot & Not Sure Why
Basically, stress makes us more prone to anger.If you feel angry almost all of the time, and you’re not even sure why anymore, then you might be depressed.

You Feel Helpless
We’ve discussed how stress can make us feel overwhelmed, and we all know that stress can even mess with concentration, too. If these feelings have progressed to the point that you feel totally helpless, though, then it’s likely that your stress has turned into depression.

You’ve Lost Your Motivation
If you’ve gone from feeling overwhelmed or burnt-out to feeling helpless, and now your drive to do the work you used to love has just disappeared, then your stress has probably turned into depression.

The Bottom Line…..
According the The World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. So if you think your prolonged stress has turned into depression, know that you’re not weak or alone for being depressed. Take care of yourself, find healthy ways to cope, reach out to the people who love you, and seek professional help. Or, if that sounds too intimidating right now, consider trying these affordable alternatives to therapy. You should never feel ashamed of getting the help you need — you deserve to be happy and healthy.

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