Physical Effects of Depression
We tend to think of depression as being a wholly mental illness. However, you might be surprised to know that there are also many physical effects of depression. Consequently, it’s worth knowing how these physical symptoms present so that you can recognize the warning signs should they affect you.
Feeling tired is a really common symptom of depression, but it’s also a really common symptom of a whole host of other illnesses including anemia and lupus too. This is why it’s a good idea to speak to a medical professional if you’re feeling tired. Once the physical causes have been ruled out, you can explore the possibility that you may be feeling depressed. From there you can get the help and treatment you need to start feeling better again.
The gut and the brain are far more closely linked than you might have imagined. In fact, digestive specialists like Dr. Shakeel Ahmed of St. Louis often refer to the gut as the second brain. This means that, quite often, issues in the gut or with the digestive system, can actually cause depression. So, if you’re constantly suffering from abdominal pains, diarrhea, constipation, or other common digestive issues, don’t rule out the possibility of depression. However, you should also get checked out for physical illnesses too.
Some people, when they are experiencing a period of depression, notice that their pain tolerance is a lot lower than it usually is. They get far more aches and pains than usual. These seem to have no cause. No one quite knows why this should be the case, but if you’re feeling low and you’re hurting physically, it may be that the two things are linked.
We all get headaches from time to time. Most of us ignore them apart from taking some sort of relief or taking a nap. However, we may want to rethink that approach. Headaches can be one of the physical effects of depression. If you notice that you’re having more headaches than usual, it’s easy to panic but you may not actually be physically ill. It could be a mental problem that you need help with, Again, it is important that you rule out all possibilities both physical and mental as a precaution.
The sad truth about depression is that addiction often gets linked with it. Figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggest nine million American adults have a dual depression and addiction diagnosis.
Getting the right therapy for addiction will help ease and eventually eradicate the damage it physically causes the body. For example, alcohol addiction can lead to many long-term health risks like liver cancer, high blood pressure, and strokes.
When getting treatment for addiction, part of the therapy process that can help includes looking at sober living homes for men and women.
Some people with depression report that the world around them looks more blurry than it did before. One German study concluded that depression can indeed affect eyesight. Scientists call this phenomenon “contrast perception” and it is much more common than you may think. Contrast perception gives the world a hazy look.
There are many physical effects of depression but it is important not to ignore any physical problems you may be experiencing too. Explore all avenues and you’ll get the best results for your health and wellbeing.
For more on depression and other matters of taking care of our mental health:
Elise Ho, Ph.D., D.N.Psy
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