Depression Affects More Than Just Feelings
While depression is categorized as a mood disorder, it affects more than your emotions. According to experts, over half of people with diagnosable depression start off seeing their physician because of chronic body aches. One of the first signs may not be overwhelming sadness or a lack of social interest but unexplainable pain. While it is true that a standard depression screening will ask about mood, sleep and concentration, it’s also been shown that physical ailments can also be a symptom.
One place you may see a manifestation of depression is in your digestive system. Digestive issues are not uncommon side effects. Your digestive tract produces 80-90 percent of your serotonin – a neurotransmitter largely responsible for balancing mood. In other words, it could be a food allergy or an irritation in your gut that is causing your depression.
Another possible sign of depression is chronic migraines. Problem headaches show up alongside disorders like anxiety or depression for more than 10 percent of patients. Unexplained back pain, too, can be connected to a mood disorder. Try warm baths and soothing massages, but if you can’t shake the pain it could be that it stems from somewhere deeper inside.
Chest and joint pain have also been associated with depression. These aches may be signs of depression or can actually lead to depression. In either case, treating the depression can help to alleviate the pain.
At Family Guidance Center we know that when the aches and pains are chronic and without obvious reason, these physical ailments can be symptoms of depression. Don’t ignore your body. If your doctor can’t explain your pain, it could be because it’s actually a sign of mental distress.