The Most Common Physical Symptoms of Depression | cannabisMD

The Most Common Physical Symptoms of Depression

Common Physical Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a relatively commonplace mental illness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 300 million people have clinical depression. Depression is considered the 2nd leading cause of death, especially common in people ages 15-24. 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year.

Yet, Major Depressive Disorder mystifies many. Those without the condition, do not realize how much of the disorder is characterized by physical pain. Many people with depression experience chronic pain. When the body is low on necessary chemicals, the lethargic nature of depression changes the way our bodies work. Depression and pain become comorbid. It is common for depressed people to have:

  • Indigestion and stomach problems
  • Chest pain
  • Increased rates of heart disease
  • Sleeping problems
  • Lower back pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Lower life expectancy

If the public better understood the severity of commonplace clinical depression, the epidemic might be better treated. If we have empathy for those with illnesses, we can better encourage them to seek treatment. Let us shed some light on what is depression and how to spot the symptoms.

Understanding Depression

Depression and sadness caused by grief differ from each other, but grief may cause depression if not treated. Sadness is a usual feeling caused by grief, loss, significant changes, negative experiences. It is a body’s typical response to negative stimuli.

Depression is emotionally characterized by:

  • An extreme feeling of sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Helplessness
  • Emptiness
  • Emotional Detachment

These feelings span over long-term periods, like weeks, months and, without treatment, years. Regarding mental health, anxiety and depression can commonly exist under a dual diagnosis. This intense feeling of doom is severe and will likely impact the person’s mental and physical health. Direct causes of depression aren’t always apparent, but some factors are thought to lead to mental illness, including:

  • Environmental factors
  • Hormones
  • Biological Differences
  • Physical illnesses (such as thyroid imbalance)
  • Neuron depletion (imbalanced brain chemicals)

There can be inherited traits. This would include personality traits such as low self-esteem. Depression doesn’t mean you are weak, and it may require long-term of treatment medication and psychotherapy. In a biological explanation, neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are responsible for pain and mood. If these neurotransmitters are imbalanced, it will affect our well-being. For example, a decrease in serotonin may lead to depression. This is why antidepressant medication acts upon these particular neurotransmitters.

Before we proceed with the symptoms, let’s get some overview of what the types of depression are. We have to know that there are different types of depressive disorders. In each diagnosis, you may see a variety of symptoms.

  1. Major Depressive Disorder is the severe form. Episodes must last for at least two weeks. It is characterized by at least five of the signs and symptoms of depression. Symptoms include:
    • Insomnia or hypersomnia
    • Changes in appetite
    • Slowed psychomotor responses
    • Constant fatigue
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • And more
  1. Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) includes different types of depression. It is less severe but may last up to 2 years or more. This mood disorder is normally characterized by a gloomy, dark, or sad mood that is recurrent for most days and may last for 2 years and more.

    For a person to have a diagnosis of dysthymia, they must have at least two of the symptoms, such as lack of energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and much more. Typically these symptoms do not be diminished for more than two months.

  2. Depression not otherwise specified (DNOS) is a type of depression that often lasts for two days or two weeks. DNOS includes Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD depends on the weather and season, for example. Symptoms of a major depressive disorder may occur during winter or days with lack of sunlight.
  3. Depressive disorder due to another medical condition includes depression often triggered as a result of medical illnesses. These illnesses are often associated with depression. For example, hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, low mood and, often, irritability.
  4. Premenstrual or postpartum depression affects women. Premenstrual depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) happens before or during a menstrual period. Symptoms may include:
    • Moodiness
    • Anxiety
    • Tension
    • Anger or irritability

    Perinatal/postpartum depression happens during and after pregnancy. It may cause symptoms such as low self-esteem, irritability, and extreme moodiness.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression has a negative impact on a person. Not just emotionally but physically and socially. Emotional symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or empty almost every day
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Negatively affect the person’s self-esteem
  • Often irritable but difficulty expressing anger towards others
  • Loss of motivation or interest in things
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Anxiety
  • Crying for no reason
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm

Social symptoms include:

  • Difficulty to focus on school or at work
  • Having no interest in going out especially with friends and family
  • Self-isolate
  • Having no interest in doing hobbies or interest

A high number of patients with depression complains of physical symptoms. Physical symptoms include:

  • Monotonous speech
  • Changes in appetite(lack or increase in appetite)
  • Insomnia (not enough sleep) or hypersomnia (too much sleep)
  • Inability concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Trouble sitting still, pacing or hand-wringing
  • Unexplainable pain such as back pain, joint pain, and limb pain
  • Loss of energy
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Drug or alcohol dependency

These symptoms are often visible to the depressed person. However, others can hide some of the symptoms like their emotional symptoms. They often let out their emotional symptoms when they are alone. Symptoms of depression in younger people are similar to those adults. Yet, for the younger generation, they may have difficulty expressing what they feel. Adolescent sufferers can have behavioural changes which may include anger and acting out. Depression in older people can be misinterpreted as mere physical illness.

Now that we have detailed the symptoms of depression, it is time to understand that this is a severe disorder. It can take a toll on a person. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, it is important for you to listen and recommend they seek professional help.

If you think that you are suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to your physician or psychotherapist. Treatment is possible. There is talk therapy, conventional pharmaceuticals, and natural alternatives (such as Cannabidiol CBD). No treatment is right for everyone, but everyone can be treated. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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