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Physical Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Research has established that the chances of a depressed person getting into an accident are twenty times more than that of a normal person. Untreated depression if ignored for a long can lead to suicide. This is the reason why one should be able to judge the physical symptoms of clinical depression along with the psychological symptoms and start the required treatments immediately.

When understanding 'depression physical manifestations' one must first have a hold on how the metabolic system of the human body reacts to the different situations that trigger off depression and what are hormonal changes seen as such.

In this article we will discuss, in detail, what can depression cause physically, and, why does depression have physical symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Clinical Depression

The pituitary glands control the hormonal secretion of all the other glands in the body. As such it is also responsible for the secretion of adrenaline from the adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands are present at the back of the kidneys and are responsible for the secretion of adrenaline that is responsible for making us excited and controlling other emotional and physical reactions in our body.

Too much production of the hormone makes the muscles tense and ready to react. In turn, the body starts using up more energy and makes you feel tired as well as tense.

Physical symptoms of depression can be easily identified as they can be seen and judged. A depressed person is seen to stay away from fun and activities that he used to initially enjoy.

Mood swings are a general physical condition when the depressed person is unable to keep control of his emotional well-being – at one instance he might be happy and cheerful but at the other, he might cover himself within a “dark cloud”. Sufferers of clinical depression become unapproachable to their friends and family.

More than eighty percent of depression patients face the problem of insomnia or sleep disorder. This results in the body getting tired too soon and the person seems to remain in a gloom.

    Read moreDepression and Sleeping Too Little or Too Much

Headaches and body ache is other common physical symptom of depression. As discussed in the above lines, the emotions and reactions of our body to them are controlled by the secretion of the adrenaline hormone from the adrenal glands. It is the level of these hormones in the blood that makes us tense, relaxed, or depressed. When the level of the hormone increases in our bloodstream, the muscles and ligaments of our body become stretched and stressed. For example tension of the scalp and neck muscles is related to the state of anxiety. Body aches become common which further get aggravated due to lack of proper sleep.

The increasing tension of the muscles also puts stress on the heart muscles. The heart either slows down the rate of pumping or increases the rate of pumping blood into the arteries and capillaries. This malfunctioning of the heart causes chest pains. The muscles of the rib cage too get stretched and add to the pain.

The adrenaline rush in the body causes the heart to pump out more blood into the lung and the brain. This is another cause of headaches as the brain is unable to utilize the excessive amount of oxygen sent to it through the bloodstream. This puts pressure on the brain causing headaches.

In prolonged cases of the symptom continuing, patients with clinical depression are subjected to loss of memory, convulsion, and concussion.

Similarly, the lungs too fail to respond and function properly with regard to the excessive supply of blood in it. The muscles of the lungs also get stressed causing pain.

All these physiological factors together result in the patient complaining of constant body aches and cramps throughout the body.

Digestive problems are also associated with depression. The emotional symptom of depression often leads to the patient refusing to eat properly or eating too much. This affects the proper functioning of the intestine and the gall bladder causing diarrhea and other stomach disorders. Depressed people also feel the need to puke constantly.

The state of depression leads the body to a state of fatigue. As a counter-reaction, the body starts to crave more food to balance the need for energy. This leads to overeating and as such related disorders like increased levels of insulin in the blood, diabetes, and also obesity.

The body gets slowed down as any kind of physical activity looks like a burden and with the pains and aches, moving the body becomes exhaustive.

Several other physical symptoms are somehow or the other related to the psychological and emotional state of the person. Most of these symptoms have similarities to other symptoms of diseases which can be identified with their physical cause. It, therefore, becomes very difficult to identify and then separate the physical symptoms of depression from the normal symptoms that might be the result of some other disease.

Again, it sometimes becomes impossible to accept that a person is psychologically ill, and therefore to represent the psychological symptoms, physical symptoms are attributed to them. Mood changes for example are again represented in bodily terms like pains in the joints, muscles, etc.


People commonly attribute the treatment of diseases to their physical symptoms and therefore they too try to represent their emotional stress in physical forms to their physicians.

All these physical complaints have a psychological input. For example, headaches can get aggravated by the stressed muscles which are a physical representation of the state of anxiety.

In the more severe forms of depression, patients are known to worry about their physical well-being and imagine themselves to be physically unwell or ill to attract attention.

Whatever the case, the need is to identify these physical symptoms of depression at their very onset and provide treatment accordingly before they turn ugly.

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