Depression Affects Your Mind and Body

Woman sitting at table, looking sad.

Everyone feels sad or “blue” from time to time for a few days or weeks. Depression is when these feelings don't go away and they interfere with daily life.  Depression is a real illness that can develop at any age. It is one of the most common mental health problems in the U.S. Depression makes you feel sad, helpless, and hopeless. It gets in the way of your life and relationships. It inhibits your ability to think and act. But, with help, you can feel better again.

Depression affects your whole body

Brain chemicals affect your body as well as your mood. So depression may do more than just make you feel low. You may also feel bad physically. Depression can:

  • Cause trouble with mental tasks such as remembering, concentrating, or making decisions

  • Make you feel nervous and jumpy

  • Cause trouble sleeping. Or you may sleep too much

  • Change your appetite

  • Cause headaches, stomachaches, or other aches and pains

  • Drain your body of energy

Depression and other illness

It is common for people who have chronic health problems to also have depression. It can often be hard to tell which one caused the other. A person might become depressed after finding out they have a health problem. But some studies suggest being depressed may make certain health problems more likely. And some depressed people stop taking care of themselves. This may make them more likely to get sick.