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Recognizing The Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Aug 17, 2007
Depression is one of the most debilitating mental disorders of our modern era. It affects nearly 10 million Americans every year. Although it is primarily thought of as a mental condition it can also inflict varying amounts of pain and discomfort that manifest as physical symptoms of depression.

One of the problems with the associated with the physical symptoms of depression is the misdiagnosis of the mental illness itself. Doctors, when presented with these physical symptoms, will test for and diagnose a physical illness and prescribe treatments to treat these symptoms not knowing or understanding that the symptoms are hiding a more insidious disease.

When you look at a list of these physical symptoms you can see why these misdiagnosis and mistreatments can occur.

1. Headaches - These are one of the first symptoms that can occur with depression. In fact headaches can be intensified to migraine like intensity in someone who is suffering from it.

2. Chest Pains - Depression can cause chest pains, which for most people is a sign of an impending heart attack. While any chest pain should be checked by a doctor it can also be a symptom of a depressed person.

3. Sleep Disorders - People who suffer from depression can have either problems going to sleep (insomnia) or they sleep for excessively long periods of time. Thy may have trouble getting out of bed as well.

4. Digestive System Issues - Diarrhea, constipation, and nausea are all symptoms of depression.

5. Extreme Fatigue - The majority of people who suffer from depression also suffer from perpetual exhaustion. This can relate back to the sleep disorders and it doesn't seem to matter how much sleep they get they still are fatigued.

6. Back Pain and Muscle Aches - Depression can intensify the pain and discomfort of people who are already suffering from these conditions.

7. Appetite and Weight Issues - People with depression can experience either a lack of appetite or intense cravings for certain foods. This can be accompanied by either weight gain or weight loss.

Another issue for people who suffer from more severe forms of depression may be even harder to diagnose because with increased severity can come delusions and hallucinations. It can become increasingly difficult to know whether a depression sufferer actually has some of these symptoms or if they are inventing them.

It is also easier for many people to accept the physical symptoms of depression then the mental symptoms. There are many people and cultures that place a social stigma on anyone with a mental illness. It is therefore easier to accept and treat a more benign physical ailment then it is to deal with issues of the mind.

What many people do not understand is that with the successful treatment of the underlying depression with either therapy or medication or both the physical symptoms of depression will often be resolved. Unfortunately treating the physical manifestations will do nothing for actual the depression and without proper treatment it will normally continue to get worse. It is therefore of the utmost importance to treat the depression itself if a sufferer is to see any relief from the physical symptoms of depression.
About the Author
Andrew Bicknell is a writer and the owner of Depression and You.com. Visit his website for more information about recognizing the physical symptoms of depression and other depression disorders
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