Physical Symptoms of Depression

When hearing the word “depression” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Sadness, hopelessness, despair… back pain? While depression is certainly a mental condition, many don’t realize the wide realm of physical symptoms of depression.

A very common physical symptom of depression is headaches. Migraines can be intensified and/or occur more frequently while depressed.

Back Pain:
Back pain may become worse if you are depressed. Chronic back pain may lead to depression.

Muscle Aches and Joint Pain:
Depression can make any chronic pain worse, and certainly dealing with chronic pain could lead to depression.

Chest Pain:
If you are experiencing chest pain its important to get it checked by a professional right away, as chest pain can be a sign of a serious heart condition. Depression can also cause chest discomfort.

Digestive Problems:
Depression is a possible cause of digestive problems. Nausea, queasiness, diarrhea, constipation, and IBS have been linked to depression.

Exhaustion and Fatigue:
Depression can cause that feeling of just not wanting to get up in the morning because we don’t feel like facing the day that lies ahead, however fatigue and exhaustion can last all through the day regardless of how much we’ve slept because of the connection between depression and fatigue.

Sleep Disturbances:
Lack of sleep can make depression worse, and quality of sleep can be impacted by depression. Depending on the cause of depression sleep disturbances could be a result of worrying at night.

Change in Appetite or Weight:
Appetite and weight can be impacted by depression and everyone is impacted differently. Some may find themselves seeking comfort in food and becoming overweight because of compulsive eating, while others may feel a loss of appetite in addition to the loss of interest in other activities.

We do have a bit of a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” scenario here when it comes to the connection between depression and pain. According to a Harvard Medical School study about the physical symptoms of depression people with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop psychiatric symptoms and patients with psychiatric symptoms are three times more likely to develop pain.

Pain and debilitating illnesses are certainly depressing, so chronic illness leading to depression makes sense. However, I was intrigued by the idea that physical pain could be a result of a mood disorder.

One theory is that the same neurotransmitters in the brain that influence mood, also influence pain. If depression is truly caused by an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, one could easily make the connection between depressed mood and pain.

If you are experiencing what could be physical symptoms of depression, or any depression symptoms , be sure to share these symptoms with your doctor and include them in your personal healing goals.