Arguably, depression is one of the most widely misunderstood diseases affecting human beings.
For a long time, you'd be hard pressed to explain to many people that it went beyond feeling a bit unhappy or that it was an illness at all.
Over the last decade we've seen a lot of progress, thanks to extensive re-education, in the way the public are encouraged to understand and approach depression. We've been presented with the idea that depression stems from chemical imbalances in the brain, which can be (to a greater or lesser extent) treated by proper medication, much in the same way that other illnesses are treated.
This week, however, there has been a further breakthrough, demonstrating that depression is not just a disease of the brain, but a disease affecting the whole body, in a much more physiological way than most would assume.
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has shown a link between depression and certain cardiovascular issues, proving that what might initially stem from up top, can actually manifest itself in various different ways throughout the whole body.
The international team of scientists that conducted the research discovered that depression causes palpable changes to the oxidative stress in the body, decresing the presence of antioxidants.
And that, as a result of this, people suffering from depression can be more susceptible to other sorts of illnesses. Owing to this new study, there is now the suggestion that depression should be reclassified as something other than a mental or psychological issue.
This shows that we should never underestimate the effect that one's mental state can have on our general wellbeing and that everything is inter-connected: mind, body and soul.
Don't worry though, because there are lots of ways to combat depression and anxiety, from sorting out your diet, through to routine and exercise.
And the study did also show that with the right treatment and medication, the effects could be almost completely reversed, making patients virtually indistinguishable from their typically 'healthy' counterparts.