There are some well-known signs of depression, such as sadness, irritability, guilt, or hopelessness. Some other common symptoms are difficulty in concentrating on different tasks. While depression is known to be a mental illness, it can even lead to various physical signs like upset stomach, restlessness, pain, fatigue, and more.
People may feel any of these physical signs due to various reasons. However, they may not realize that it’s due to depression. If you have any physical signs of depression, you can consult a doctor to provide you with proper treatment for depression.
However, before that, you need to know what these physical symptoms of depression are. Well, we have covered here some most common types of physical symptoms of depression:
It is a common depression symptom. Often, a depressed person may feel low on energy and appear sluggish in the morning. Some depressed individuals may even experience non-restorative sleep, which means that they feel sluggish after getting proper sleep.
Although everyday fatigue can be a sign of depression, other symptoms may include anhedonia (lack of interest in daily activities), sadness, hopelessness, etc.
2. Reduced pain tolerance
Have you ever felt that your nerves are burning and you don’t know why? This is due to depression. According to a study, there is a strong correlation between depressed people and reduced pain tolerance. Another study conducted in 2010 also revealed that pain has more impact on depressed people.
While these two symptoms have no clear effect-and-cause relation, you must evaluate them, especially when your doctor has recommended you any medication.
Everyone experiences headaches now or then. These are common and we don’t even take them seriously. But stressful work situations like an argument with a co-worker can trigger headaches.
However, your headache may not always be considered as stress if you have tolerated such a situation in the past. But if you notice any switch to regular headaches, it may be a sign of depression.
While you can tackle these headaches with over-the-counter medication, they re-occur regularly. Sometimes even chronic tension headaches could be a major sign of this disorder. But some headaches could be psychological too. People with depression often feel additional symptoms like irritation, decreased energy, and sadness.
4. Back pain or pain in other muscles
Sometimes you may feel good in the morning, but after you sit for work or at a school desk, your back begins to hurt. It may be stress or a sign of depression. While it may be associated with injuries, bad posture, or backache, it could be a potential sign of mental illness.
According to a 2017 study by Canadian university students, there’s a direct connection between backache and depression. Psychiatrists and psychologists also believe that there’s a connection between the body’s inflammatory response and depression.
5. Stomach pain or discomfort
Have you ever experienced a sinking feeling in the stomach? It is also a recognizable sign of depression. However, when the abdomen cramps, it’s often considered menstrual and gas pain.
This pain worsens when the stress is more. And, it could be a sign of depression. According to some Harvard researchers, an inflamed digestive system with pain could be a sign of depression. However, it’s often considered to be irritable bowel syndrome. Eating a well-balanced diet along with probiotic intake can improve your gut health. This can elevate your mood as well.
6. Digestive problems
Some other digestive issues like diarrhoea and constipation can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Often these issues occur due to food poisoning or some gastrointestinal viruses. It is easier to assume that your digestive issues are also a sign of physical illness and discomfort.
However, emotions like anxiety, sadness, etc. can also disrupt the digestive tracks. As per a 2011 study, there is a connection between depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal pain.
If you feel any discomfort in talking and identifying the distressing emotions like anger, sadness, and shame, it could cause feelings to manifest in your body differently. If you experience any of these physical symptoms for a longer period, you can consult a primary care health practitioner. If you don’t already have a healthcare provider, you can search for the best physicians in your area for a consultation or a rehabilitation center will help.
This blog was reviewed by Ms. Shraddha Banerjee (B.sc (Gold Medalist), M.Sc, M.Phil), RCI Licenced Clinical Psychologist at Safe House Premium. She has been writing articles on Mental Illness in Dainik Bhaskar. With expertise in substance-related, neurotic, sexual, and stress-based disorders among young adults, Ms. Banerjee forms an integral part of the support system for individuals healing from addictions of various natures.