Can depression make you physically sick
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Depression is a mental illness that generates feelings of melancholy and poor self-esteem. Physical signs of depression are often overlooked, yet they may be just as debilitating as the emotional ones.
What Is Depression?
Individuals who suffer from depression find it difficult to go about their regular activities without feeling down. Biochemistry, genetics, personality, and the environment are all thought to have an impact.
At least two weeks of symptoms are required for a person to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Depression may emerge physically as well as mentally, with signs including sadness or difficulty focusing.
Physical Symptoms of Depression
Depression is associated with a wide array of physical symptoms.
Fatigue or Low Energy
As many as 90% of people with the severe depressive illness are affected by fatigue.
There are three types of fatigue: physical, mental, and emotional.
- Physical: Symptoms include tiredness, decreased activity, low energy, reduced physical endurance, requiring more effort to do physical tasks, general weakness or slowness, and poor quality sleep.
- Cognitive: Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, decreased attention, reduced mental endurance, and slowed thinking.
- Emotional: Symptoms include feeling less motivated, apathy, decreased interest, feeling overwhelmed, feeling bored, and feeling low.
These feelings of exhaustion may be related to:
- The psychological toll of depression
- Changes in the levels of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin affect energy levels
- Sleep difficulties commonly associated with depression
Fatigue can also be a side effect of some medications used to treat depression, such as tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Depression is associated with aches and pains, such as headaches, back pain, joint pain, and muscular discomfort. A person’s ability to function might be affected by these aches, which can be slight or severe. Depression and pain are known to share the same neural pathways and brain chemicals, which may explain the link.
According to some research, the more intense the symptoms of depression, the worse they become physically.
Persons with major depressive illness had lower pain thresholds and tolerances than healthy adults, according to a 2015 research of 54 people.
People who suffer from depression are 60 percent more likely to acquire back pain in their lifetime than those who do not suffer from depression, according to a big 2017 research. Persistent low back pain has been demonstrated to increase the probability of acquiring depressive symptoms in addition to depression.
Many people with depression report that they experience poor quality sleep. Depression can cause sleep disturbances such as:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Poor quality sleep
- Getting fewer hours of sleep
- Waking more during the night
- Daytime tiredness
- In some cases, very early morning awakening without being able to fall back to sleep
Depression symptoms such as trouble focusing and discomfort may be exacerbated by a lack of enough sleep.
Depressed areas of the brain are also involved in circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle control).
Even if they are getting the same number of hours of sleep each night, people with depression might have irregular sleep patterns. Even though they may be exhausted throughout the day, they may have trouble falling asleep at night.
Depression can cause digestive issues, such as:
- Appetite changes
Emotions may affect the stomach and intestines because of the close link between the brain and the digestive system. Signals may be sent to the brain from the digestive system as well. Depression, worry, or stress may cause or exacerbate stomach discomfort.
According to research, persons who suffer from severe depression have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
At least some of this elevated risk may be attributed to depression-related lifestyle choices. People with depression have an increased prevalence of certain risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as:
- Alcohol and substance use
- Physical inactivity
- Poor nutrition
Depression can affect the way the body and mind work together to complete tasks.
Slowed psychomotor activity can affect:
- Speech: A person’s speech may have more pauses, be quieter, have less articulation, be more monotonous, and involve delayed responses in conversations.
- Eye movement: A person may have reduced eye contact or a fixed stare.
- Facial movement: The person may appear to maintain a flat expression and not react to emotion.
- Bodily movement: The body may move more slowly, and there may be difficulty with fine motor tasks such as writing, doing up buttons, or handling money. The person may feel “weighed down” when walking or changing positions and have a slower reaction time. There may also be an increase in purposeless movements, such as difficulty sitting still, pacing, or fidgeting.
Changes in Appetite
Depression has been linked to both weight gain and decrease. As a result of depression symptoms like tiredness, meal planning and cooking might be more challenging. This might make it more difficult to eat healthfully.
Changes in the stress hormone cortisol have been linked to depression as well. A person may end up “emotional eating,” in which they consume food when they are feeling down. Emotional eating is characterized by a preference for meals that are high in calories and easy to ingest.
Reduced Sex Drive
The sex drive of most individuals fluctuates, but some persons with depression entirely lose their desire for sex. This may be related to the lack of energy or desire to participate in things that a person formerly loved when they are depressed.
The topic of sexual dysfunction may be awkward and humiliating, but if you or a loved one are experiencing a significant decline in sexual desire, speak to your healthcare physician.
Psychological Symptoms of Depression
Some psychological symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent low mood or sadness
- Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and/or hopelessness
- Feeling “teary” or crying
- Lack of motivation
- Disinterest or lack of enjoyment in things
- Difficulty making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
How Are the Physical Symptoms of Depression Diagnosed?
In order to determine whether your symptoms are being caused by a medical condition such as thyroid issues, a doctor will likely do an examination and order testing.
Assuming that a physical reason is ruled out, your physician will inquire about your general health and family history, physical and mental symptoms, and other relevant information.
If you are diagnosed with depression, you and your doctor will talk about how to deal with all of your symptoms, including the physical ones.
What Comes First?
A number of the physical symptoms linked with depression may either contribute to or be exacerbated by the condition itself. It’s not always easy to identify which came first when looking back. Consult your doctor about your symptoms so that you can get a proper diagnosis and the best therapy.
When to See a Healthcare Provider
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare practitioner if you are experiencing signs of depression, whether they be psychological or physical.
Help Is Available
Depression is a mental illness marked by a persistent sense of hopelessness and melancholy. Fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep issues are all common side effects of depression in addition to the psychological ones. People who are having physical symptoms should seek medical attention.