What is at risk if depression is left untreated?

Not recognising that you may have depression can have devastating effects, not only for the sufferer, but also for work colleagues, family and friends. Some of the consequences of leaving your depression undiagnosed and untreated are listed below.

Physical health

Depression is a major contributor to heart disease, lowered immune system, stroke and diabetes.  Many people with depression have elevated cortisol levels. The result of chronically elevated cortisol levels is damage to brain cells. Research has discovered that depression inhibits brain cell growth and adversely effects memory.  The good news is that research has also found that neurogenesis (birth of new brain cells) occurs with psychological treatment. This is due to the significant neural activation and shift in cortical blood flow which takes place during therapy sessions.

1. Erectile dysfunction

Depression is a common cause of erectile dysfunction in men.  Depression is characterised by loss of interest, reduction in energy, lowered self-esteem and inability to experience pleasure: irritability and social withdrawal may also impair the ability to form and maintain intimate relationships. So it is not surprising that depression has long been associated with sexual problems in men.  Unfortunately, anti-depressant medication used to treat depression can also result in sexual problems.  The good news is that therapy with a Clinical Psychologist can often treat depression related erectile dysfunction without the use of anti-depressant medication.

2. Coronary Heart Disease

Depression is strongly associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.  People with depression commonly experience negative alterations in circulating stress hormones, blood pressure, blood clotting and inflammation.   It is believed that the depressed person’s negative lifestyle factors of lack of exercise, poor dietary choices and excessive alcohol use contribute to the risk of developing heart disease.

3. Stroke

Recent studies have contributed to the growing evidence on the adverse health effects of depression where a strong link exists between depressive symptoms and stroke mortality.

Studies found that men reporting high levels of depressive symptoms were more than twice as likely to experience a stroke during the following three to six years.

4. Lowered Immune system

Numerous studies have found that depression lowers the effectiveness of the body’s immune system.  The lowered immune response was correlated with the length of time the person was depressed rather than the severity of the depression, meaning that it is the length of time

Employment and productivity

Depression can lead to a considerable drop in productivity and work performance (over 30% according to NIMH figures).  This can result in a loss of employment bringing with it a whole new set of problems for guys who are already having difficulty managing.


Depression is a leading cause of relationship problems and divorce for men.  This fracture in the family unit often leaves men feeling rejected, isolated and unsupported.


Depression may prompt thoughts that a man’s family would be better off without him, significantly increasing the likelihood suicide (three quarters of the suicides in Australia were males, ABS 2012).

What to do now?

Seek help early!

If you feel that you are not coping or are unsatisfied with life, Dr Crawford & Associates can help.  We specialise in men’s issues and are dedicated to helping men get their life back on track.  We take a holistic approach to your wellbeing so if you are in a relationship which is not functioning to its full potential; we also want to help the person who loves you.  We can provide the support you need to regain control and quality of life.  Our goal is to teach you skills that resolves your immediate concern, but more importantly to stop them recurring!

So, if you suspect that you or a loved one may be depressed it’s important to seek help early. The sooner a person gets treatment, the greater the chance of a speedy and full recovery. Untreated depression will cause many of the problems outlined in this website. There is no reason to endure them when assistance is so readily available! Remember, the key to overcoming depression is early and skillful intervention, so call Dr Crawford & Associates for a guaranteed appointment within 48 hours!

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