The Widespread Effects Of Depression

African American woman sad depressed

( — Depression is one of the leading causes of disability
worldwide. That’s the word from NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health
(NIMH), the component of the federal government that studies depression and
other mental illnesses.

You probably know depression as a medical condition that primarily affects
the brain. Its symptoms include a persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood,
feelings of hopelessness, pessimism and worthlessness, and a loss of interest in
hobbies and activities once enjoyed. The “Symptoms of Depression” side box
contains a more complete description.

But according to Dr. Husseini Manji, chief of NIMH’s Laboratory of
Pathophysiology, the psychological symptoms of depression are just the “tip of
the iceberg.” Because the brain is the body’s “control center,” the effects of
depression spread throughout the body, often resulting in problems with sleep,
appetite, energy level, motivation, memory, and concentration. Performing
everyday activities can be an enormous challenge for people who are

A Devastating Illness

“Depression needs to be recognized as a devastating illness,” Dr. Manji
explains. “It can occur with other diseases, but it is a very real medical
condition in its own right.”