Medical Advice

The Physical Symptoms of Depression

Although symptoms of depression are mainly emotional events (such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness), the disease may be accompanied by physical manifestations including nausea, diarrhea, pain, and weight changes. Often people simply dismiss these health problems and fail to detect an appropriate treatment for them.

You should not ignore the possible physical symptoms of depression: pain and other health changes can be signs of depression. Knowing the possible physical effects of depression can help diagnose and treat them in a timely manner.


Severe and persistent fatigue

Fatigue is a very common symptom of depression. Even if you sleep, you can wake up with the feeling that you have not rested at all. While the fatigue that is the result of physical exercises or excess use of drugs may make those concerned feel the need to sleep, fatigue caused by depression usually is not accompanied by the desire to sleep.

Digestive Problems

Stomach problems are common in people with depression or anxiety, especially in children and adolescents. Many children have stomach problems when they are overwhelmed by anxiety caused by the school environment and relationships with other children. Adults who suffer from depression may suffer from digestive disorders such as nausea and diarrhea. Some diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, colitis and ulcers, can be worsened by stress and depression.

Excess energy

People with depression may have a restlessness that will not allow them to relax or stay in one place too long. This is a common physical symptom, rather surprisingly, of depression. Patients feel the constant need to always do something and be busy as much as possible.


Headaches can have many causes and sometimes they can be signs of depression. Headaches associated with depression are often generalized and can accentuate morning and evening. These are similar to headaches resulting from a tension that occurs when the muscles in the neck and scalp become tense or contract. When people are depressed they can tense a group of muscles without realizing it, and therefore have headaches. Even if you have a predisposition to headaches, a depressive episode will accentuate your pain.

Muscle, back and joint pain

If you already suffer from back pain, it can exacerbate if you get depressed. A recent study has shown that people with depression have a four times higher probability of developing severe neck, joint and back pain, than those who are not depressed.

Chest pain

If you have chest pain is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible. These can be signs of serious heart problems. Chest pain can be a manifestation of a heart attack or other serious cardiac conditions. You must know, however, that localized pain in the chest is often associated with depression. However, they can be related to your emotional health, being often associated with panic attacks or anxiety. If, after investigation, it is not found that the chest discomfort is caused by cardiovascular disease, it could be a sign of depression or anxiety.

Changes in weight

Weight fluctuations may be related to changing food habits and the types of activities performed. Sometimes depressed people can sleep even 12 hours. As such, because they are not active they can gain weight. On the other hand, the appetite may change, and people who suffer from depression may not eat enough. The result will be weight loss. If you have unexplained weight loss or gain, talk to your doctor because it can be a sign of depression or other health conditions.

Reduced ability to complete normal activities

Depression can aggravate any activity and the effort to do them will be higher. Consequently, people who are depressive often cannot cope with the previous duties and responsibilities. Also, the thinking process slows down, and problems of memory and concentration difficulties appear. Depression requires more effort and those affected will feel exhausted, even when they do simple activities. Most actions performed involve an emphasized effort.

Changes in menstrual cycle

This is a common physical symptom often found in depression in women. Periods tend to be irregular, they can be modified in quantity or duration. Also, it is not uncommon to completely disappear for a while. If this happens and you know that there is no way it’s pregnancy, you should consult your doctor. After the depression was treated, menstruation should be back to normal again.

Decreased interest in sexual activity

For many people, this is one of the symptoms that occur when they are depressed. People with depression appear to be less interested in sex and respond in a slower way to sexual advances than usual. Many people find that it is impossible to have sex when they are depressed, and some of them are outraged only by the idea of having sexual contact. About 50% of people who use antidepressants may have sexual problems, which are one of the side effects of these drugs. However, if you feel better after treatment, but still have sexual disorders or decreased libido, perhaps they could be the consequences of the medication’s side effects, rather than to signify that you are still depressed.

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