Like any medical disorder, untreated clinical depression has its hazards.
When suffering from clinical depression, people have different ways of confronting it. Some acknowledge it, face it just like any problem, and seek help. Some ignore it as if it doesn’t exist. And others simply accept that it’s there but they don’t do anything about it. In fact, they don’t even ask for help.
Those who ignore and don’t do anything run the risk of developing the serious complications of depression. Like any medical disorder, untreated clinical depression has its hazards.
What are some of the complications of clinical depression? How serious are they?
Without treatment, some depressed individuals feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless. Subsequently, thoughts about death occur. They sometimes feel that they are better off dead than alive. As the illness worsens, suicidal thoughts and behavior gradually ensue.
Although rare, homicidal behavior can happen to someone with significant level of depression. In fact, a few high profile cases in the media had point to some cases of clinical depression and homicide. Severe depression can result in impaired judgment, making these depressed individuals vulnerable to cause harm.
Clinical depression likewise causes disturbances in perception and thinking. Some individuals with severe depression experience auditory hallucinations (“hearing voices”) and delusions (false fixed beliefs). Hallucinations can manifest as inappropriate commands telling the person to do certain things such as to harm oneself or others. Delusions can range from suspiciousness to bizarre beliefs such as the thought that the person is the “Anointed One.”
It’s very common for depressed individuals to develop lack of energy and loss of interest to do their usual activities. These individuals can hardly do their usual chores, prefer to isolate themselves from everyone, and stay in bed the whole day. Work absences, financial problems, and job losses may be the inevitable end result.
Due to ongoing behavioral and thought disturbances, some family members don’t understand what is going on. Fights, ridicule, name-calling, and arguments between spouses or among family members can happen. As the relationship becomes more strained, the individual becomes more distant from friends and relatives. It is not uncommon to see unsupportive spouses, parents, and children during these difficult times.
In summary, clinical depression has fatal consequences. Ignoring it is too risky. Doing nothing about it is a grave mistake. Early recognition and treatment is the only way to prevent its unwanted complications.
About the Author:
Copyright © 2005. Dr. Michael G. Rayel – author (First Aid to Mental Illness–Finalist, Reader’s Preference Choice Award 2002) psychiatrist, and inventor of Oikos Game: An Emotional Intelligence or EQ Game. For more information, visit www.oikosgame.com and www.soardime.com