How does being seriously depressed affect my overall health?

Individuals with major depression are more likely to have asthma, arthritis, and diabetes than the rest of the population. Depression is just as important a risk factor for heart disease as smoking and high blood pressure. When individuals suffering from heart failure have a depressed episode, it increases their likelihood of dying by 15 percent. In contrast, studies show that after their depression is treated with antidepressants, survivors of heart attacks are less likely to have another heart attack.

If you have several episodes of depression, you are more likely to develop dementia. Studies have shown that depression frequently precedes Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, depressed people are much less likely to have health problems if they get appropriate treatment like antidepressants and psychotherapy. When your depression has been effectively treated with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, you will look, act, and feel just like anyone else, if not better. And treatment is successful in the vast majority of cases.