Physical symptoms of depression. Did you think depression was just about thinking things were hopeless and feeling sorry for yourself? It is not unusual for depressed people to complain of exhaustion, sleep disruption, bowel disruption, a loss of appetite, headache or shortness of breath.
Pain is one of the most poorly understood physical symptoms of depression associated with pain include headache, back pain, neck pain, extremity/joint pain, chest pain, pelvic pain, abdominal pain, and general pain (pain where patients are unable to identify a location.
Depression is a real illness, just like diabetes or the flu. Unfortunately, the physical symptoms of this illness are poorly understood, and rarely the target of treatment. The hope is often that they will just respond to medication or abate when the depression does. Sometimes they do. However, other times the physical symptoms of depression are more complicated.
Some facts about the physical symptoms of depression and depression and pain.
Treatment for the physical symptoms of depression and depression and pain.
Reviews of studies done on major depressive disorder suggests that the course or the illness ( how quickly one recovers) is related to the intensity of the physical symptoms. Western medicine is not known for its wisdom when it comes to the connection between the body and mind, and psychology is no exception. Despite the fact that there are clear physical symptoms associated with depression, most people, including the professionals in the field, view and or treat depression only from the perspective of changing how we thing and behave. Thankfully, lately more and more studies exploring eastern ideas of medicine, such as mindfulness based stress reduction , yoga and meditation are being explored to help us understand how we can keep our bodies and minds healthy together.
Also, of course the pharmaceutical companies are getting in on the action by exploring medicines that that specifically target pain as a treatment for depression. Researchers are measuring pain in studies among people who are depressed to develop more specificity in the choice of medicines for people who suffer from depression and pain. Most studies on antidepressants however, have to date, ignored their effectiveness in treating depression and pain (Krebs E.E.2008).
A great page on goal setting and how it’s related to depression can be found here
Bair, M.J., MS, Robinson, R.L. MS; Katon, W , Kroenke, K Depression and Pain Comorbidity: A Literature Review Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:2433-2445.
Godstein DJ, L. Y. ( 2004). Effects of Duloxetine on Painful Physcial Symptoms Associated with Depression. Pscyhosomatics , 45, 17-28.
Henningsen, P., Zimmermann, T., Sattel, H. Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms, Anxiety, and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review.Psychosom Med 2003 65: 528-533.
Huijbregts, K. L., van der Feltz-Cornelis, C. M., van Marwijk, H. J., de Jong, F. J., van der Windt, D. M., & Beekman, A. F. (2010). Negative association of concomitant physical symptoms with the course of major depressive disorder: A systematic review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.11.009
Krebs EE, Gaynes BN, Gartlehner G, Hansen RA, Thieda P, Morgan LC, DeVeaugh-Geiss A, Lohr KN. Treating the physical symptoms of depression with second-generation antidepressants: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Psychosomatics. 2008 May-Jun;49(3):191-8.
Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.