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How Depression, Anxiety and Stress are Linked to Disease and Illness

By Chi Phan, Depression Counsellor and Life Purpose Coach

Why you are more prone to illness when you suffer from stress, anxiety or depression

The body always has ways for you to deal with stress. In times of stress the adrenal glands releases adrenaline and cortisone. Adrenaline allows you to get more done. It is your up and go hormone. Cortisone is a hormone which allows you to sustain prolonged activity and also help the body heal.


Because of these chemicals you will be more alert and have more energy. Other physiological things also happen like your heart beat goes up. But the setback of cortisone is that it suppresses the immune system so you are then more prone to getting a bug or getting sick. Also, your body cannot keep this state of prolonged activity and alertness up for a long period of time and if your stress is prolonged you will eventually use the body’s capacity and it will start to shut down. This is when the body goes into EXHAUSTION. In this period you will feel like in a state of collapse. You will feel like you will to need to rest.


If you don’t rest in this period and allow your body to recoup, then ultimately you can become so sick that it can lead to Chronic illness and even death. Can you die from too much stress? YES, its possible.

What is the immune system?

The immune system is your disease fighting system. It consists of cells that actually engulf and kill foreign bodies. These foreign bodies can include the cold bug or viruses. When they say that your immune system is depleted it just means you have less of the disease fighting cells that make up the immune system. Cortisone, which is released during stressful times, suppresses your immune system which then makes you more vulnerable to getting a cold or virus attack.


It is a good idea that if you suffer from either stress, anxiety or depression to get on top of it. Counselling can help with the psychological origin of your stress, anxiety or depression. See it as an investment in your health and longevity.

Case story of Joanne who suffers from regular bouts of depression

Joanne  is a 31 year woman living in a small city. She had a rough upbringing and in her adulthood lacks self esteem and suffers from depression. Her depression comes on generally when a negative event happens like a relationship breakup or she loses her job. She finds it extremely hard to cope in these periods of her life and suffers bad depression which can last for months. Joanne also finds that when she is really stressed at work she tends to fall down with a virus. She then has some time off from work to recover but she finds that most times she has the flu it takes her weeks to recover. She finds that she gets a cold without fail once a year, sometimes even more often. There was a period where she fell sick for 3 months and was bed ridden. The doctors could not diagnose what was wrong with her.


After a relationship break-up Joanne decided to go to counselling. She found that she got almost immediate relief from talking to her caring counsellor. She then realised that she had some unresolved issues she needed to address. These issues were probably why she felt so down all the time. In working with her counsellor over a period of time Joanne was able to work on these issues.


Today Joanne does not suffer from depression anymore and she finds she hardly ever gets sick anymore either. When a negative life event occurs she still feels sadness but she finds she does not fall into a deep depression like she used to.


Initially it was the breakup up that lead Joanne to counselling but in dealing with her deeper issues she has found that counselling has helped to improve her overall physical well-being as well as her mental well-being.

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Chi Phan | Chi Phan Seminars and Counselling
Chi Phan BA Psychology and Counselling, Depression Counsellor and Life Purpose Coach.
Hello, My name is Chi Phan.
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Your mind is connected to your body

People who are depressed more have been documented to suffer more disease. Your emotions create hormones in the body which ultimately affects it’s functioning.

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