Depression and the effects on the body

If you are suffering from any mood disorder, whether it ranges from anxiety through to depression, you may well have noticed other health issues arising which appear to be nothing more than strangely coincidental.  

You might have noticed that you are developing skin problems or, perhaps, you are becoming frustrated by the fact your weight is increasing despite the fact you are eating less than normal. Most certainly you will find that your sleep patterns are not only disturbed but also that the little sleep you do get is of poor quality. 

When depressed, some people often start to suffer from gastrointestinal problems, while others develop conditions which progress into diagnosed illnesses and require medical intervention.

Yet all these issues appear to be entirely unconnected to any emotional disorder you might be experiencing and they are often simply attributed, in a general way, to ‘feeling low’.

Although you may well have considered that holistic therapies are something which might alleviate your problems, what orthodox western medicine is coming to realise is that there are scientific links between emotional disorders and physical disease that affects the rest of the body. 

An emerging field of medicine called Psychodermatology is not only investigating how nervous disorders can affect the skin but also how the emotional issues can trigger disease throughout the human body. Research is well underway which looks at something called the ‘target organ’ theory. This field of medicine investigates how negative emotions can result in specific adverse reactions as stress is channelled to different organs throughout the body. 

The links between depressive illness and disease are proving how negative emotions can result in many diverse physical problems. These can include; migraines, hair loss, weight gain, rashes, ulcers, gastrointestinal disturbances and even some autoimmune conditions. For example, when it comes to the skin, it has now been shown that someone suffering from depression or anxiety might well find themselves also suffering from acne. This is because any level of anxiety triggers the release of cortisol which also produces more oil in the skin and results in pimples. 

Psychodermatology then, although a field of orthodox medicine which traditionally studies individual conditions, is now looking at how emotional disturbances may well result in whole body disease. In turn, it is starting to recognise that because the disease may well be holistic, by definition it requires holistic therapies.  

Treatments and therapies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, despite being used for millennia, are now emerging as being relevant to modern medicine. We even find that acupuncture, which focuses on channels of energy much in the same way that psychodermatology focuses on the target organ theory, is being given some credence and is starting to be recommended by some clinical practitioners. 


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