The physical symptoms of depression follow the mental symptoms. However, it is quite common for many to put more emphasis on their physical fatigue, headaches, back pain or insomnia.
The physical symptoms of depression are the brain’s way of telling us that something is wrong. This complex disorder does not just change our mood and thoughts.
If there is anything characteristic of depression, it is how it affects the body. It comes with pain, fatigue, inflammation and sleep problems among others. Few disorders can change the body like this.
Mental pain exists and is truly responsible for many physical ailments. But it’s easier for us to complain about back pain, headaches and stomach aches than to say something dramatic like “life hurts.” If there is one thing we humans know, it is that our reality can sometimes be so complicated and painful.
Disappointments, losses, defeats and not knowing what to do or how to react to something can cause us suffering. It is actually common for us to experience deep emotional anxiety without knowing why. We have no idea how to explain it and can not point to anything in particular that has triggered it. As you can see, depression has many different faces.
One thing that is very common is the experience of an exhausting combination of anxiety and depression. Patients who experience this often describe it as a condition of being frightened and extremely tired at the same time. They want to be alone, but they fear loneliness. They want to escape but cannot because they feel paralyzed.
Living with depression is not easy for anyone. But by studying the anatomy of these disorders, one can much more easily understand what it is we are facing.
Physical symptoms of depression: A body in pain
Depression hurts. We can define it in many ways: A paralyzing condition, negative and self-harming thoughts, anxiety, fear, sadness, apathy and lack of courage. But it is not common for people to talk openly about what depression is, above all it is a recurring feeling of pain which can be physical as well as emotional.
The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas conducted an experiment in 2004. The result of this experiment supported what we have said above: Physical symptoms are common in depression and in fact all these signs of illness are proven by pain or an organic change.
Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi was in charge of this experiment. He revealed that many patients seek out their primary treatment sites thanks to headaches, digestive problems or back pain without knowing that they are all physical symptoms of depression.
Fatigue, a feeling of heaviness and general pain
Everything is heavy, everything hurts, the body has become limp, and the patient feels as if they are living inside an inflated diving suit. Most people with depression experience these things.
Dr. Steven Targum, head of Massachusetts General Hospital, explained in this experiment that people with depression cannot benefit from a good night’s sleep. Even though they slept for more than 12 hours, they still felt exhausted.
If we have to mention a pain associated with depression, then it is definitely back pain. If you are wondering about the link between back pain and depression, we can refer to a study conducted by Emory University in 2016. These were the conclusions:
- There is a connection between the inflammatory pathways and the nerve pathways in the brain when it experiences alarm, fear and anxiety.
- There is a reaction, an awakening of the immune system and an inflammatory response, which is mainly located in the back, in the nerves and the spine.
Higher sensitivity to pain
Another of the physical symptoms of depression is related to our pain threshold. All of a sudden, everything becomes painful: a touch, a light blow, changes in temperature and other clothes, among other things. Our skin and nerves become much more sensitive and therefore suffer more.
People with a depressive disorder often suffer from all sorts of digestive problems:
- Slow digestion.
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach ache.
- Constant feeling of satiety.
A study from Harvard University has shown that it is important to always remember that there is a connection between our brain and our digestive system. Factors such as stress, anxiety, fear, tension and sadness provoke a series of changes that go from the esophagus and all the way down to the rectum.
That’s a pretty weird thing. Patients suffer from small visual disturbances where they have trouble focusing on certain things. A lot of these things seem blurry to them. Furthermore, they experience a bit of difficulty in distinguishing white from black.
Studies, such as those conducted at Harvard University, indicate that when a person is depressed, the world becomes more monochrome and the colors gray and blue begin to flow. This is very striking news.
As you can see, there are many physical symptoms of depression. But it is important to remember that all of these discomforts must go hand in hand with a series of emotional and cognitive changes in order to be able to form the clinical picture of depression.
The way to treat depression will be decided by the person responsible for mental health. It is also important to keep in mind that all types of depression are treatable.
The moment a person experiences an improvement, most of these physical symptoms will disappear. When the mind calms down, the body will stop sending out danger signals. Then you get better emotionally.