One of the hardest parts about suffering from depression is that it makes you feel awful not only mentally and emotionally, but physically. Many people with depression suffer from chronic pain or other physical symptoms. And many people with depression also struggle with anxiety disorders, which have their own physical effects. Since depression makes anxiety worse (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions. Here’s what to watch for:
Physical symptoms of depression include:
- Headaches are fairly common in people with depression. If you already suffer from migraine headaches, they may feel worse if you’re depressed.
- Back pain can also feel worse if you become depressed.
- Muscle aches, joint pain or any kind of chronic pain often feel worse when you’re depressed.
- Digestive problems, including queasiness and nausea often accompany depression. Or, you might have frequent diarrhea or become chronically constipated.
- Exhaustion and fatigue, no matter how much you sleep, can be a sign of depression—and also make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
- Sleeping problems are quite common for people with depression, including the inability to fall asleep easily at bedtime, a pattern of waking up too early or feeling the need to sleep much more than normal.
- Changes in appetite or weight are common, because some people with depression lose their appetites, while others crave certain foods —often carbohydrate— and put on weight.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness are lesser known symptoms of depression.
Because most of these symptoms occur with many other conditions, it can be difficult to diagnose them as signs of depression. But if you treat the depression, the symptoms should improve.
The physical symptoms of anxiety may be easier to recognize, although there is a difference between feeling anxious and feeling nervous. You may be suffering from anxiety if you commonly experience:
- Pounding heart
- Stomach upset or dizziness
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and twitches
- Muscle tension
And like depression, anxiety can cause headaches, fatigue and insomnia.
Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological source, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Luckily, both can be treated with medication, therapy and other non-invasive techniques.
If you feel you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or both, please talk to a medical professional such as a doctor or a counselor. You call the team at Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800 if you have any questions about either condition. We offer many different mental health services including counseling and psychiatry in Western New York. It’s possible to overcome depression and anxiety with the right treatment!
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