Identifying the Physical Symptoms of Depression and What to Do About Them

  • Author: Admin
  • November 24, 2022
Identifying the Physical Symptoms of Depression and What to Do About Them
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Depressive disorders are among the most prevalent mental illness diagnoses, along with anxiety disorders. Children, adolescents, and adults of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are susceptible to depressive illnesses. Depression can have a significant impact on a person's life, even if it might be challenging to identify and notice. This is illustrated by the fact that depression has such a profound effect on people that major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is regarded as a mood disease. Nevertheless, there are numerous therapy options for depression, and it is quite treatable. We frequently consider the social, psychological, or emotional symptoms that go along with depressive disorders while discussing these mental health illnesses. We could be less likely to recognize the bodily signs of depression. In light of this, what are the bodily signs of depression and how can you recognize them? Does depression have any physical signs that can be treated physically? We'll speak about the answers to these queries today.

What are the physical symptoms of depression?

Depression impacts everyone differently. Two people can meet the criteria for the same depressive disorder, but they might show depressive symptoms differently. This means that some may notice more physical symptoms than others, particularly if there are comorbid disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse. Here are some common physical symptoms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Tiredness and fatigue. Fatigue is one of the most prominent symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD), a common depressive disorder that impacts roughly 7% of those age 18 and older in the United States.
  • Body aches and pain. Not only are body aches a potential physical symptom of depression, but those who experience chronic pain are at a higher risk of depression. Up to 85% of those who live with chronic pain meet the criteria for severe depression. You may experience vague aches or more chronic and severe aches.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Research suggests a link between depression, anxiety, digestive issues, and diagnosable digestive disorders, which include but are not limited to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Changes in appetite. Some people who live with depression notice that they eat more than usual, whereas others experience a loss of appetite. This can result in weight gain or weight loss, or even eating disorders in more extreme cases.
  • Slowed psychomotor activity. Slowed bodily movements are a common symptom that some people with depression experience. Even if you don't notice this yourself, the people around you might notice this in the form of slow speech, decreased physical activity, and so on.
  • The trouble with self-care activities. Self-care activities that a person with depression might have difficulty with include brushing their hair, practicing consistent dental hygiene, showering, meal preparation, doing laundry, and more. Again, this can vary from person to person.
  • Changes in sleep. Some people who live with depression experience insomnia, typically characterized by trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. On the other hand, some people who live with depression face hypersomnia or sleep too much.

Both the physical and psychological, social, and emotional signs of depression can have an impact on daily life in many ways. For instance, it can be difficult to continue with obligations relating to work, family, or academic obligations when you're tired or short on energy. Similar to how sleep issues can result in sleep deprivation, which may have negative effects, Additionally, depression can raise the likelihood of acquiring other mental illnesses like anxiety as well as a number of physical health issues like heart disease. The list above is by no means exhaustive; different symptoms of depression, both emotional and physical, may be felt depending on the intensity of the depression, the person, and the situation.

Be aware that some of the physical signs and symptoms of depression may also be related to other diseases or issues. It's crucial to consult your doctor to acquire personalized advice and rule out any alternate diagnosis or causes.

Physical health conditions and depression

Physical symptoms, such as those listed above, might directly originate from a depressed disease. However, there is also a connection between pre-existing physical health issues and the emergence of depression. Along with other risk factors for depression, such as unfavorable childhood events and family history, physical sickness is a potential risk factor. Rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, and other illnesses are associated with higher risks of depression. It is well established that mental health therapy can help people with a wide range of physical health illnesses manage their symptoms as well as address a variety of mental health and life issues.

Your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing can undoubtedly be impacted by the symptoms of physical health disorders as well as other probable physical health condition-related worries like uncertainty and increased financial stress. It is crucial to have support from people because, at times, physical problems can be difficult and isolated. Whether or not you have depression, this is possible. Social support is connected to better symptom management for physical health illnesses or concerns in the same way as therapy is.

What can I do about the physical symptoms of depression?

Is it feasible for depression's bodily symptoms to go away? With treatment, physical symptoms of depression can also improve, just as they can with psychological, emotional, and social symptoms. Numerous types of psychotherapy, some of which are brief in duration while others may require longer-term medication, are among the possible treatments for depression, but they are not the only ones. It's interesting to note that some antidepressants are also prescribed to alleviate physical health issues like pain or sleeplessness. The type of treatment required will depend on the degree of depression, the symptoms, and the presence of any comorbid conditions like substance abuse problems, chronic pain, or anxiety that may coexist with depression. Before modifying your prescription regimen or contemplating other medication options, please speak with your doctor.

Support groups can be a helpful addition to depressive disorder treatment. They are accessible to both persons who suffer from depression themselves as well as their family members or romantic partners. You might be able to locate a support group for people with the same condition if you suffer from a depressive disorder as well as a physical health issue. There are several of depression support groups that also focus on comorbid conditions, like substance misuse. Support groups, which can be held in person or online, are frequently free and can be facilitated by peers or experts. You might look for a support group online or ask a service provider for a recommendation.

The most important thing is that you ask for assistance when you need it. Finding the best care for you or the ideal treatment regimen for your particular case of depression may take some time, but symptom control and a higher quality of life are possible.

How do I know if I have depression?

Alongside the physical symptoms of depression, you may notice other signs of depression. Other non-physical signs of depression might include a lack of interest in activities you'd typically enjoy, a low or depressed mood, emotional numbness, excessive crying, becoming irritable or agitated more easily than usual, development of an eating disorder, trouble with substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, isolation from other people, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts**, and/or difficulty with focus or concentration.

There are several different kinds of depression outside of major depression, also known as clinical depression. These include persistent depressive disorder (PDD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) (sometimes called seasonal affect disorder), and postpartum depression. Each diagnosis under the category of depressive disorders has a different set of criteria. Other concerns may also lead to symptoms affiliated with depressive disorders or periods of depression. For example, bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating mania or hypomania and depression episodes.

Suppose you notice the symptoms of depression in yourself. In that case, it's important to speak with a medical or mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and guidance or refer you to someone who can do so. The first step to receiving a diagnosis will often be to make an appointment with a medical doctor, such as a psychiatrist or your primary care physician (PCP). If needed, they can prescribe medication to help with depression treatment, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which essentially work to help balance serotonin levels in the brain. These professionals may also be able to provide you with a referral to a therapist or counselor if desired or if they/you feel it would be a helpful addition to treatment. Alternatively, you can search the web to find a therapist, contact your insurance company to see what they cover, look for low-income resources that are local to you, or try online therapy. Whether you see a medical doctor, a therapist, or both, the American Psychiatric Association stresses that it is of paramount importance to be completely open and transparent about any symptoms you are experiencing, as well as information that could be related such as childhood trauma, a family history of depression, and so on. These professionals are not there to judge, but to help, and treatment tends to be more effective (and accurate) if they have as much of the picture as possible.

You don't need a diagnosis of depression or any other mental health condition to start seeing a therapist. Therapy can help individuals with various concerns, from mental health conditions like depressive disorders to other challenges, like life stress, grief, social relationships, and more. Whether you live with depression or need support in another area, therapy is an option to consider.