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9 Physical Symptoms of Depression

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9 Physical Symptoms of Depression

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living

There are obvious signs of depression, like feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety–but depression can also cause unexplained physical symptoms. Physical pain and depression are closely related. Simply put, pain can be depressing, and depression causes and intensifies pain. Some research shows that pain and depression share common pathways in the limbic (emotional) region of the brain. In fact, the same chemical messengers control pain and mood. According to an article published by the Harvard Medical School, people with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms–usually mood or anxiety disorders–and depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain.

Many people suffering from depression never get help because they don’t realize that pain may be a symptom of depression. The importance of understanding the physical symptoms of depression is that treating depression can help with the pain–and treating pain can help with depression.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

96 comments

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1:53AM PDT on Sep 25, 2014

thank you

11:01PM PDT on Sep 14, 2014

As I looked through the 9 symptoms, I thought of several folks that I know who might be depressed. This is a useful article. Thanks for sharing it

5:09AM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

Don't lose enough rest, physically and mentally

10:34PM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

There is a common belief that increases suicide rates.

"If they're talking about suicide, they're not really going to do it."

I had the privilege of serving with Suicide Prevention for about 8 years.

Almost every suicide is prefaced by the person talking or trying to talk to someone about their plan to kill themselves. However, friends reassure themselves by saying, "As long as they're talking about it, they won't do it."

Oh, yeah, they will,

If you can, get your friend to a professional....perhaps, Suicide Prevention, or to a medical doctor if they won't accept a psych, a psych or even possibly a religious leader.

The next best prevention of your friend's suicide is to

Listen to your friend without criticizing, educating and above all DO NOT give advice. To give advice is to risk being fired! It's sort of like "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day". "Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime."

There are some professional questions that we asked and that really helped,

"If a family member or a close friend came to you with the same problem you're telling me about what would YOU advise him to do?"

The idea is to get him a ray of hope. Let him know you care. Guide him to solve his own problem.

Mostly, JUST LISTEN without educating, correcting, explaining or anything else.

JUST LISTEN. You can save lives that way.

That's what we did.

12:35AM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

Unfortunately all this is true. Almost every patient who arrives in a hospital besides the problem that put them there such a fracture or surgery, they are too in many different medications for depression, and this is OK. If they feel better, but in the medical field they should treat the root of the problem not just put a bandage to it.

11:53PM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Using pain medication for chronic pain shouldn't make you feel depressed or guilty. It should, however, shame the medical community for not helping with the source of the pain.

8:00AM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Thank you!

7:26AM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

????? So everyone in their old age is depressed.

5:15AM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Thanks - very interesting info.

11:44AM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

It's actually a sad self-perpetuating cycle when you have to battle chronic pain. The pain hurts, and often can only be decreased, not relieved, so it's depressing. Then the depression fires up your nerve sensors so that the pain increases. Then doctors recommend addictive drugs to combat the pain, which then makes you feel horrible and guilty. To get off this rat wheel, I had to quit almost all pain meds; start using a Bob-Beck zapper every day to normalize my nerves, and start doing actively positive meditations every day.

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