Depression is a common mood disorder that affects people everywhere, from small towns to major cities. Over 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, with teens and young adults being diagnosed most often. Depression can come with a variety of symptoms, including physical signs that you may mistake for some other issue. It is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor, especially if you are at risk for developing depression.
1. Muscle Aches
Aches and pains that cannot be explained by injury or overexertion may be linked with depression. However, this can be difficult for some primary care doctors to pinpoint and they may misdiagnose the cause as growing pains in teens or joint degeneration in older adults. If you experience repeated muscle aches more than a few times per week, you may want to see a physician who specializes in treating depression, as the chemical imbalance that occurs during depressive episodes can heighten activity in the brain’s pain center.
2. Stomach Problems
Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, or persistent constipation may be signs of irritable bowel syndrome or some other type of chronic digestive ailment. However, once these have been ruled out by your primary physician, you might want to consider whether depression may be to blame. These symptoms can be caused either by an influx of chemicals sent out by the brain once depression is triggered or by overeating greasy or sugary foods, which depressed individuals often crave as a temporary feel-good cure. Track these cravings and discuss any digestive symptoms with your psychiatrist or therapist.
3. Dizzy Spells
Experiencing unexplained dizzy spells can be frightening; however, they may be linked to undiagnosed depression, anxiety, or both. When these illnesses develop, they can trigger a variety of different responses in the brain and body, including brief episodes of panic. Depression can also cause the body to experience stress, which may lead to dizziness. Different types of depressive disorders, including bipolar, may all cause this issue.
4. Headaches or Migraines
Head and neck pain can be a common complaint from those who have been diagnosed with depression. There is a clear connection between the two, as an imbalance of chemicals in the brain can be responsible for both problems. In some cases, migraines can trigger depressive episodes, especially if your family has a history of either problem. In most cases, the link between depression and headaches or migraines is low serotonin production in the brain, which can interfere with mood and sleep patterns.
5. Low Energy
Dealing with the symptoms and negative emotional repercussions of depression can leave you exhausted. You may want to nap all day, lose interest in physical hobbies, such as jogging or hiking, and it could interfere with your job performance. If you are living with depression that is linked with a substance abuse issue, then dual recovery treatment may be an effective solution for increasing energy levels. This type of therapy focuses on healing both the mind and body and includes multiple types of prescription and holistic solutions that may improve your mental and physical health.
Living with undiagnosed depression can result in a variety of exhausting physical symptoms. However, discussing them with an experienced physician or therapist may help you understand this disorder and lead to effective treatments that could improve your quality of life.