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FITNESS

Wellness

*This* is officially the number one cause of health probs

 

Depression might be classified as a mental illness, but its effects go far beyond the emotional. The brain disorder is actually the leading cause of physical ailments worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, the recent discovery is so significant that the theme of this year's World Health Day is depression. Today, April 7th, is dedicated to raising awareness of the preventable and treatable disease, removing the stigma and encouraging more people to seek and get help.

Causes of depression can range from biological and psychological factors to social sources of distress, and affects more than 350 million people worldwide. That's almost 10 times more than the world's largest city, Tokyo, which weighs in at about 37 million people! The most common physical side effects of depression are irregular sleep patterns, appetite change, chronic fatigue and increased aches and pains. 

The more severe effects linked to the disease are an increased risk of substance abuse, diabetes and heart disease. Depression is also a major risk factor for suicide, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, and it affects people in all countries, regardless of age, gender or race. Treatment for depression can include medications, medical procedures, therapy and specialists. If you or someone you know does not have access to these treatments, read this article about natural depression treatments.

Don't be afraid to ask for helpdepression is a serious medical condition that should not be brushed off or ignored. For immediate help, call 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention hotline is open 24 hours a day, and also offers a lifeline chat you can access online.

Have you or someone you know experienced depression? How did you offer support? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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Photo credit: Oceanup.

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by Julia Bonney | 4/7/2017
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