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Stress and Depression

Stress and Depression

Stress and Depression

Stress is a neglected factor in day-to-day events of life, and it plays a vital role in the mental health of a being. It is a physiological response to any physical, emotional, or psychological strain (Cassidy, 2017). Stress may have a positive or negative impact, but for the essay below, we will focus on the negative part of stress causing depression. To others, stress acts as a defence mechanism, and if it becomes chronic, it can lead to depression. Depression is a significant health determinant during healthcare delivery. It is also a common mental illness whose manifestations include loss of interest, feelings of guilt, low concentrations, and loss of appetite. Stress is closely associated with depression. With chronic stress, one is likely to go into depression. The essay below will discuss the short and long-term effects of depression on health, treatment, and prevention strategies and how one can avoid disorders related to stress. It will also give an insight into how stress contributes to depression.

Stress Contribution to Depression

Life events full of stress contribute to the origin and, more so, the development of pressure through the interaction of factors such as environmental stressors, psychological factors, and neurotrophic factors. Psychological vulnerability, which is determined by the strength, duration of impact, and intensity of life events, can lead to depression (Yang et al., 2015). When a person is exposed to stressors that are uncontrollable and unavoidable, this may interfere with their cognitive functioning. Especially cases where resources to cope with these stressors are unavailable. When these people are unable to make proper judgments on how to handle stressful life events, they begin to feel useless and helpless.

Environmental stressors such as traumatic events experienced by a person during childhood could cause vulnerability and trigger depression. Adverse life events such as extreme poverty, loss of a close relative, abuse by peers, and neglect have a direct way of forming dysfunctional and negative attitudes. So, exposure to additional environmental stressors that are not favourable could lead to depressive symptoms.

Neurotrophic factors play a role in neural processes in the brain. These include the brain-derived neurotrophic elements, neurotrophins 3, 4, 5, and 6, and nerve growth factors. Research has shown that any drop in the levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor may cause depression symptoms (Phillipe., 2017). However, an increased level of this helps to speed up healing during a clinical process. Chronic stress can damage the central neurons, decreasing the stories of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and causing depressive symptoms.

Effects of Depression on Health

Depression causes endocrine abnormalities, which result in endocrine disorders. The most common condition associated with depression is the increased activity of the HPA (Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis (Kim et al., 2016). It results in the diseases of parathyroid, adrenal glands, and thyroid glands and also causes diabetes mellitus, which involves insulin secretion. Some long-term effects are the unresponsive treatment of the thyroid, adrenal and parathyroid glands.

Short-term effects on the nervous system include slowed-down neurological functions, irritability, sudden intense mood swings, disorientation, lethargy, and muscle weakness. The long-term effects of depression on this system include migraines, pains unresponsive to pain medications, prolonged body aches, and loss of memory.

Depression causes diarrhoea or increased intestinal motility in the gastrointestinal system. Prolonged duration of depression may cause regurgitation, leading to chronic ulcers. It can lead to a build-up of acid in the respiratory system, leading to respiratory acidosis.

Depression is treated after a holistic assessment. This holistic assessment includes clinical assessment, identification of stressors, presence of underlying disorders, looking at the patient’s preference, and weighing on the prognosis if they have had one before. Medications are given, which include antidepressants and other drugs, to manage the clinical manifestations of an individual (Olfson et al., 2016).

Depression can be prevented by creating awareness of the effects of an excellent early childhood upbringing. It can also be controlled by educating the caretakers and parents on how to handle those who have had depression before to minimize the strength of stressors. Advocating for the implementation of government policies on mental health and encouraging psychotherapeutic talks can help prevent depression.

Stress-related disorders such as depression can be avoided by seeking immediate help. Early medical attention, such as attending cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy, helps to minimize the weight of stress and the number of stressors on an individual. The decreased number of stressors on an individual is directly proportional to the improved health status of an individual.


In conclusion, there is a close association between stress and depression. Stress contributes to depression via environmental stressors, psychological stressors, for example, psychological vulnerability, and neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factors. A decrease in brain-derived neurotrophic factors causes depressive symptoms. Still, depression affects the endocrine system, nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and respiratory system. It causes endocrine abnormalities and diseases of the glands. These glands include the thyroid, adrenal and parathyroid. However, there are ways to treat and prevent depression, for example, the administration of antidepressants. Apart from these two, depression can be avoided.


Cassidy, T. (2017). Stress, cognition and health. Routledge.

Kim, Y. K., Na, K. S., Myint, A. M., & Leonard, B. E. (2016). The role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in neuroinflammation, neurogenesis and the neuroendocrine system in major depression. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry64, 277-284.

Olfson, M., Blanco, C., & Marcus, S. C. (2016). Treatment of adult depression in the United States. JAMA Internal Medicine176(10), 1482-1491.

Phillips, C. (2017). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, depression, and physical activity: making the neuroplastic connection. Neural plasticity2017.

Yang, L., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Liu, L., Zhang, X., Li, B., & Cui, R. (2015). The effects of psychological stress on depression. Current neuropharmacology13(4), 494-504.


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Module 2 – Case


Assignment Overview

Stress and Depression

Stress and Depression

Scientists have known for some time that stress can aggravate physical or mental illnesses. We also know that stress is also associated with an increased risk for psychological and physical diseases such as:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Breast Cancer ( I chose breast Cancer because my Aunt Passed away from it.)
During the normal stress response, the nervous system and endocrine systems respond. Chronic stress can result in the continued comeback of these systems, especially regarding hormone release, which can impact other body systems.

Case Assignment
Choose one of the disorders below to research.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Breast Cancer
Describe the current research that supports how stress contributes to the effects of the disorder (3 well-developed paragraphs).

How does your chosen stress-related disorder affect short- and long-term health? Consider the impact on endocrine, nervous and other body systems (3 well-developed paragraphs).

What can be done to prevent and treat your chosen stress-related disorder? (2 well-developed paragraphs).

Conclude how to avoid these stress-related disorders (1 well-developed paragraph).

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