The year 2020 has been nothing but a challenge. What made it difficult was our isolation from each other. And with isolation came the hidden plight of sadness and depression.
It’s funny to think that in an age where everything, not just everyone, is connected via the internet, we still feel lonely. But where do you draw the line between depression and sadness?
In this article, we’re going to talk about how depression affects your body and how it can decrease the likelihood of surviving a COVID infection.
Depression is not just in the mind of the person affected. People who aren’t familiar with this disability think it’s just a mindset. An imbalance in the brain can cause hormones to directly affect how your body performs and how your brain thinks.
One of the hormones that play an essential factor in your general feeling of wellbeing is serotonin. Serotonin is commonly known as the happy hormone, which, if underproduced, can lead to feelings of sadness. Over time, sustained periods of decreased serotonin develop depression.
Some people are diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Although there are no established studies yet, people who have SAD are affected directly by the amount of sunlight. The pandemic has caused more individuals to stay in their rooms. The lack of natural light leads to the development of this illness.
So how exactly does depression increase your likelihood of contracting the COVID19?
Our happy hormone has several effects on the body, including movement. Consequently, an increase of serotonin in the brain may cause a result increase in overall activity. Exercising can therefore help you to increase your serotonin levels. Contrarily, low serotonin levels cause demotivation, particularly to exercise. With the pandemic closing gyms and forcing everyone to “Netflix and Chill,” there’s a guaranteed drop of serotonin in many individuals.
A domino effect from this point on the decreased serotonin will make individuals less active. With nothing to do but live the life of a couch potato, there will be changes to the diet. People will have no control over the number of carbs they can eat, and blood glucose levels increase. In response to the increased blood sugar, the body has to produce insulin, which lets your body use glucose. When the body detects an excess of insulin in the blood, it releases cortisol to suppress it.
Cortisol is one of the most important hormones related to your body’s defense system. The presence of cortisol in the bloodstream inhibits our immune system. Our immune system also manages how our body heals. In a diabetic person, wounds heal longer due to a malfunctioning immune system.
Most depressed people will stay in bed longer than necessary. Research done at Swansea University revealed that sleeping too long contributes to weaker lungs. It has been in the news for a while now: people with weak lungs will have fewer chances of recovering from a COVID infection. Researchers also noted that sleeping too long will decrease cardiovascular function. Your heart will have more difficulty pumping blood through your body. If this were the case, even people with good lungs would have a long time recovering from COVID.
To explain how poor blood circulation directly affects the recovery rate from a COVID infection (or any other infection for that matter), we start with understanding how the body combats disease.
Every once in a while, you get a bout of flu. Your nose becomes runny, your throat hurts, you feel weak all over, and you’re running a fever. A fever is your body’s way of destroying a virus or bacteria. Most pathogens die if the body temperature is above average. Sometimes, if the fever gets too high, a Paracetamol bought from your local Costco or Sam’s Club pharmacy should help lower the body temperature. This temperature reduction is critical as febrile temperatures can cause seizures if not managed.
Your nose also becomes noticeably red. This redness is due to an increased blood supply to areas where there are high numbers of infective agents. That’s why your throat also becomes veiny and reddish. It helps deliver the combative white blood cells to fend off the infection.
Depression affects the rate of blood distribution across the body. Suppose you have a COVID infection and you’ve been inactive for years before the disease. In that case, you will have fewer chances of recovering simply because your body can’t deliver the cellular fighters to the site of infection.
If you think you have depression, contact a psychiatrist for the medications to help you. If you need help with your will to better yourself, a counselor can also be an option.