In literary novels, it is common to find stories of people so sad to have lost the love of their life that they die of grief. Her sadness is so great that her body cannot take it anymore and she ends up dying for no apparent medical reason to explain it.
Tales are tales, but how right are they? After all, in our everyday language there are countless expressions that relate to this belief. The pain appears to be, in addition to being painful, harmful.
Can you die of depression? Can we be so sad that our heart can’t beat? These are the questions we will attempt to answer below.
Can you die of depression?
There are many stories that tell us that some people who, after experiencing the loss of a loved one, fell into a deep depression that cost them their lives. It wasn’t that they died because they ended their own life, but their grief was so great that their bodies couldn’t take it anymore and they went to the other side, dying of sadness. How somewhat fair are these stories? can you die of depression?
Grief and sadness are not direct causes of clinical deathHowever, these emotions, along with others associated with depression, have been linked to the possibility that an organically healthy person will eventually develop physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, or stop caring for them. itself and ignores them. . In other words, depression can affect us so much that it really causes us to die, but not directly, of course.
Depression is a very debilitating mental disorder, so much so that those who suffer from it gradually leave it.. People with depression find it difficult to maintain good health habits, such as a varied and healthy diet, frequent physical activity, or medical appointments. Their disorder can evoke a nihilistic sense of life which, without leading them to suicide, floods their minds with “why” style thoughts, believing that striving to save life is not worth it or being less warned.
At the same time, people with chronic or severe physical illnesses are more likely to experience depression, which can cause them to not undergo treatment or give up a healthy lifestyle. Ironically, this abandonment of patients with serious illnesses leads to a worsening of their condition and, consequently, to an increase in mortality.
Higher risk in men
In a 2020 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, it was observed that Barons aged 18 to 64 six times more likely to die of depression. In other words, the group most vulnerable to mortality associated with depression are young and middle-aged men, which is surprising given that women are the most likely to suffer from this mental disorder.
To say that men are more likely to die from depression is not entirely correct. The long explanation would be that men with depression are at a higher risk of dying because this mental disorder, coupled with the conception of what a man should look like in our society, causes them not to receive the proper treatment or care. for their own health, which can result in the moment when they suffer from a medical illness that ends their life.
Men receive poorer treatment because they are less likely to seek professional help when suffering from depression. Although progress has been made over the past decades in terms of the need for mental health care, many men still internalized that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness or that going to a psychologist or psychiatrist is ” crazy ”. There are also toxic ideas about masculinity, such as the fact that men cannot be emotional or need help in this regard.
It should also be noted that depression in men is usually accompanied by symptoms that do not seem typical of sadness, such as irritability or aggressiveness, which sometimes cause depressive symptoms to go unnoticed or are more difficult to detect. mental health professionals. Depressed men may have more violent behaviors and addictions than women, which also puts them at greater risk of death.
Relationship between depression and heart disease
The relationship between depression and heart disease has been analyzed in recent years. The reason it was decided to approach this particular relationship is that heart disease is a leading cause of death, and the fact that depression impairs cardiovascular health is evidence that, although indirectly, this psychological state can lead to the death of a person.
Current studies have shown that moderate or severe depression is a risk factor for heart problems, such as heart failure.
As symptoms of depression worsen, the risk of heart disease and death increases.. So, what can die of depression, in the sense that it is the sadness characteristic of this state that causes us to die, is partly true. If the person with depression does not go to a professional, pay attention to their body condition, or monitor their symptoms, their life expectancy is expected to gradually decrease.
Over the past decade, various studies have established a direct link between hormonal imbalances caused by depression and the various effects it has on the heart. Depression appears to increase the release of hormones associated with stress, which induce inflammation or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Another proof of how depression, or at least sadness, can lead to death in some cases is that there is research that they relate the experience of a recent duel to the death of the person who lived it. After the death of the couple is more vulnerable, susceptible to heart disease or stroke. This risk is much higher between 14 and 18 days after the death of the loved one.
About broken heart syndrome
Broken heart syndrome, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, is a muscle condition of the heart that appears after experiencing great emotional distress.
This syndrome can occur in healthy people without a history of heart disease. Although this is a temporary disease of the heart muscles, it can be severe enough to cause major problems, including death.
Although it is still a relatively little studied medical condition today, relevant data has been found on it. We saw that about 90% of those affected by broken heart syndrome are elderly women (+66 years). Old age is the life in which the most likely to lose a spouse is lost, and if we add that women have a longer life expectancy, it is common for them to be widows, having to go through mourning. ‘having lost the husband. .
This should not make us believe that men and young people cannot suffer from this problem. Everyone is susceptible to Takotsubo disease; as long as you have had a very stressful and depressing experience, you may be prone to developing this condition.
Symptoms associated with broken heart syndrome are similar to those of myocardial infarction and are as follows:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Deaths or collapses
It should be noted that these symptoms are usually not fatal, although if they are severe, they can end the patient’s life. In fact, only 10% of patients with Takotsubo have a real risk of dying, especially if they have symptoms such as severe hypotension, decreased consciousness, and pulmonary edema. Either way, being brought on by an emotionally tense situation, in which there may be depressive symptoms, is another link between depression and death.
The cause of this condition is unknown. The main theory we have today is that a large number of stress-related hormones are released into the bloodstream after going through an emotionally disturbing situation, which can affect the integrity of the heart tissue and cause the symptoms of heart failure. syndrome. Stress hormones cause arteries in the heart to build up, which increases the risk of heart muscle ischemia and causes symptoms of cardiomyopathy.