We all know that being ill is not a pleasant experience. Even short periods of illness can lower our mood, as the effects of pain and discomfort, or of confinement and a reduced capacity to do the things we enjoy, take their toll. In that sense, illness can lead to depression. These issues are explored in Depression in the medically ill.
There is another way in which illness causes depression – physical effects of the illness making direct changes to the body’s functioning in a way that leads to depression. Even if the illness isn’t making us feel down as discussed above we still end up with a depression.
- It is known that certain cancers, for example, can produce a depression – in these cases the person might be quite unaware that they have the disease.
- Certain medical conditions can lead to mania.
- More recently there has been interest in the possibility that compromised immune functioning more generally might play a part in the emergence of depression.