Depression is a problem that affects people globally and is the greatest source of disability worldwide, but often goes undiagnosed and untreated. If people try to ignore their depression symptoms, they may experience a wide range of physical and emotional side effects. Depression symptoms are, unfortunately, often exacerbated by stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress refers to the body’s reaction to change. It can affect people mentally, physically, and emotionally, and the symptoms of stress can range in terms of length and severity.
People who experience stress may be susceptible to behavioral changes such as overeating or undereating, drug or alcohol abuse, and/or withdrawal from social settings. They may also experience physical side effects of stress, including fatigue, chest pain, and/or headaches. Stress may lead to mood changes that cause anxiety, irritability, and/or extreme sadness.
Can Stress Cause Depression?
Stress can contribute to depression, particularly during periods in which people are under extreme duress.
For instance, if people coping with untreated depression are worried about their job security, they may feel intense pressure to work extra hours to keep pace. These people may inadvertently put too much pressure on themselves to perform well at work, leading to elevated stress levels, as well as hopelessness, loneliness, and other feelings frequently linked to depression.
In addition to stress caused by concerns over job security, the loss of a loved one may cause stress and depression to occur at the same time. The loss of a loved one is tragic, and it may make people feel sad and lonely. If people are dealing with untreated depression, the stress associated with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. As such, stress and depression together make it exceedingly difficult for people to function following the loss of a loved one.
Lifestyle factors may cause people to experience depression in combination with severe stress. In times when stress levels are high, people may ignore regular exercise and other healthy habits. Furthermore, they may be more likely to eat fatty foods and engage in other unhealthy behaviors. The result: these people may be unable to obtain the nutrients they need to thrive, resulting in more stress and increasing their risk of depression symptoms.
How to Manage Stress and Depression
For people coping with stress that hampers their ability to work, go to school, and perform other everyday tasks, it is important to pursue medical help. When people meet with a doctor, they can determine a safe, effective course of action to manage stress. These people can also find out if they are dealing with untreated depression, either on its own or in conjunction with stress.
Stress won’t disappear; stress is a problem that affects everyone at some point in their lives, and it needs to be managed appropriately. To properly cope with stress, a doctor may recommend one or more stress management approaches.
Psychotherapy may be beneficial, especially for people who are dealing with chronic stress. This form of therapy encourages people to meet with a mental health counselor to discuss their stressors and explore healthy ways to frame them and cope with them. A mental health counselor can also provide tips and recommendations to help people stay calm, cool, and collected in periods of severe stress.
Along with psychotherapy, there may be ways that people can manage stress on their own.
Relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga enable people to practice mindfulness. The techniques allow people to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and instead, focusing exclusively on taking care of themselves. After people perform these techniques, they may feel relaxed and ready to tackle any challenges that come their way.
A healthy lifestyle may be beneficial for people who are struggling with stress. Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients may help people feel energized throughout the day. Then, if these people encounter stress, they may be better equipped than ever before to minimize the impact of mental, physical, and emotional side effects.
Spending time with family members and friends may help their loved ones get through stressful periods, too. Family members and friends may provide a sounding board, enabling their loved ones to share their stressors and receive honest, open feedback about them. They may also help loved ones temporarily separate themselves from their stressors. Perhaps best of all, family members and friends may show loved ones that they do not have to try to combat stress alone.
Stress management is key, regardless of whether a person is coping with untreated depression. The aforementioned approaches may help people alleviate stress, but additional support may be required to help people simultaneously manage stress and depression.
To treat depression, a doctor may recommend an antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy. But, the effectiveness of both treatment options varies.
An antidepressant may help a patient reduce their depression symptoms. However, there may be times when the medication causes intolerable side effects or has no effect at all on a patient.
Comparatively, psychotherapy allows a patient to discuss their depression symptoms with a mental health counselor. The patient and their counselor can develop and implement strategies to cope with depression symptoms. Unfortutately, there is no guarantee that psychotherapy — with or without an antidepressant — can deliver long-lasting results.
In cases where antidepressants and/or psychotherapy are insufficient, alternative depression therapy options may be required. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is one such therapy, and it may help patients reduce or eliminate their depression symptoms.
Learn More About TMS Therapy
Achieve TMS is the nation’s leading provider of TMS, and we are proud to offer this revolutionary therapy to patients coping with depression and stress. Our medical clinicians can evaluate to determine if a patient qualifies for TMS. Next, they can provide a patient with a personalized therapy plan.
Our clinicians are happy to meet with a patient to discuss TMS therapy and determine their eligibility for treatment. To learn more or to schedule a TMS consultation, please contact us online or call or text us today at 877-261-3391.