Most people are aware of the emotional symptoms of depression such as sadness, loss of interest in usual activities, irritability, feelings of worthlessness and even thoughts of suicide.
But, recognizing the physical signs of depression may be a little more difficult to detect and are often passed off as another condition.
To make sure you are receiving the correct treatment for your physical ailments, see below. You may be suffering from depression.
Muscle aches and joint pain
Suffering with chronic pain can increase the risk of depression. And depression often leads to pain because both conditions share chemical messengers in the brain. People who are depressed are three times as likely to develop chronic pain.
Always get checked out by a doctor anytime you have chest pains. It’s important to rule out any signs of serious heart problems.
Clinical depression and cardiovascular disease are the two most common debilitating conditions in the world today. When a patient suffers with both, they can produce a synergy that worsens both conditions.
Unfortunately, about 5 percent of the general population suffers from depression. To make matters worse, depression can increase the risk heart disease over time.
If you suffer with chronic back problems, depression may worsen the pain or the back pain may bring on depression. Experts say people with depression may be four times more likely to develop intense, disabling neck or back pain.
Sleep problems and fatigue
People with depression frequently suffer with insomnia or with sleeping too much. Both can result in chronic fatigue. According to one major study, depressed patients are more than four times as likely to have unexplained fatigue. People who suffer from fatigue are nearly three times as likely to become depressed.
Because our brains and digestive systems are strongly connected, depression is often accompanied by stomach problems. Many people get stomachaches or nausea when stressed or worried. What some call "having a nervous stomach" causes other symptoms as well, such as indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation.
Change in appetite
Certain people with depression will lose their appetites while others crave comfort-type foods. Either may likely cause a loss or gain in weight that will result in a lack of energy. Depression has also been linked to eating disorders, especially in women, such as bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating.
Dizziness or lightheadedness
People don’t often associate dizziness and lightheadedness with depression. They may not seek medical help, or physicians may misdiagnose the problem to be associated with another condition.
Depression is an imbalance of certain chemicals in your brain and some of these chemicals play an important role in how you react to pain.
If you experience any of these physical symptoms for more than six weeks, talk to your doctor about the possibility that you may be suffering from depression.
Depression: Recognizing the physical symptoms. Webmd.com. Web. 27, June, 2012
Double Trouble: Depression and Heart Disease. Psychologytoday.com. Web. 27, June, 2012
Slideshow Pictures: Depression -- Physical Symptoms of Depression. Emedicinehealth.com. Web. 27, June, 2012
Reviewed June 28, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith