Mental illness is most often paired with sadness, crying, and sorrow. These feelings are just as strong or excruciating as physical pain. However, what makes depression so detrimental to our health is that it can cause pain throughout our body. The physical symptoms can have an impact on both short-term and long-term health. Knowing what these symptoms are and getting the appropriate treatment is so important for well-being and longevity.
These are 5 physical symptoms to be aware of to insure you are getting proper care for both your mental and physical health.
- Digestive Problems/Uneasiness of Stomach
The emotions of anxiety, sadness, and stress can disrupt our digestive tracts. Stomach problems can be an issue caused by poor diet or a physical illness, but according to Harvard Medical School chronic stomach discomfort such as constipation, bloating, and diarrhea are signs of poor mental health.
The science behind depression and stomach pain is caused from increased cortisol levels in your body, creating excess inflammation in your digestive system. Stress can often be linked to irritable bowel syndrome.
- Back Pain and Aching Muscles
Unfortunately, back pain in America is common, especially for individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle. Caused by excessive sitting at work or school desk, your back may start to hurt. It may be caused from muscle imbalances, lack of strength, bad posture, or trauma. However, your back pain could also be a result from mental trauma.
In a study done by the Journal of Canada Chiropractic Association, over 1000 students found a direct association of depression and back pain.
Psychologists have believed for hundreds of years that emotional stress can cause aches and pain. There is an apparent connection between your nervous system and inflammation.
Stressful situations are commonly associated in triggering headaches. However, if your migraines have increased intensity and your lifestyle hasn’t changed this could be a sign of depression.
Depression headaches are not migraines; they are described from Natural Headache Foundation as “tension headaches”. These headaches have a throbbing sensation around the eyebrows. If tension headaches reoccur regularly then that may be the indication to get professional help.
This is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Being occasionally sluggish is common, however having low energy levels even though you have gotten enough sleep is an indicator of depression. According to Dr. Maurizion Fava, Director of Clinical Research Program, nonrestorative sleep is a key indicator for increased anxiety and depression.
- Chest Pain/Rapid Heart Rate
These symptoms can be related to lung and heart problems. The symptoms of chest pain and accelerated heart rate that are unrelated to lung and heart problems are called by doctors as “anxious depression”. Chronic chest pain is linked to individuals who have depression or are experiencing anxiety.
If you're having chest pain it is important to see a doctor for heart or lung disease. If the heart is fine then you will need to find treatment or therapy to improve your mental health.