Depression Causes Physical Symptoms
The National Institute of Mental Health states that depression is one of the leading causes of disabilities worldwide and is estimated that 20 million Americans suffer from depression. However, people often overlook that depression causes physical symptoms as well. In a study of over 25,000 patients at 15 primary care centers on five continents, Seattle researchers found that 50% of all depressed patients worldwide report multiple unexplained physical symptoms.
Depression is a disorder of the body as much as of the mind and varies from person to person. Some people who have depression never get help because they are not aware that their physical symptoms are part of their depression. Most people associate depression with feelings of hopeless and helplessness, loss or gain of appetite, unable to focus, find that previously easy tasks are now difficult, negative thinking patterns, crying, unable to sleep, or oversleeping and the suicidal thoughts.
Rarely do people realize that depression causes physical symptoms. Some people may experience headaches. If a person already suffers from headaches they can become worse when they are depressed. The same goes for those who have muscle aches and joint pain. This is one of the physical symptoms that really stand out for those who suffer from depression. Chronic pain becomes worse with depression. People suffering from back pain experience more painful outbreaks when they are depressed.
Digestive disorders are yet other common physical symptom of depression. Because appetite is affected with depressed people may experience nausea, heartburn and indigestion. There are also frequent occurrences of diarrhea or constipation. Some people lose appetite and weight, but for many they find cravings for certain foods like sweets and carbohydrates, therefore they gain more weight. Because of possible excessive weight gain, they run the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and type type-two diabetes.
Exhaustion, fatigue and the feeling of being tired no matter how much sleep a person gets is one of the physical symptoms of depression. Even getting out of bed may seem difficult and some people get more depressed because of the effort it takes. Once people are out of bed and moving about, they may experience being lightheaded or being dizzy throughout the day.
Because depression causes physical symptoms, treating both the emotional and physical symptoms is essential for recovery. There are a variety of avenues that people can take to treat their symptoms including the use of medications. If people are reluctant to take medications, they can use a more alternative approach such as vitamins and herbs, nutrition and diet, and exercise including yoga, walking and biking. For some, the physical pain is not their head, it’s in their depression.