July 13, 2024

How Does Depression Affect the Body ?

Although depression is known as a psychological disorder, it is associated with many physical symptoms as well.  Physical symptoms of depression are often due to changes in the brain that occur during depression, such as elevated or decreased hormone levels, neurotransmitter disturbances and chemical imbalances.  These physical changes can lead to health problems and other body changes.

Common Physical Manifestations of Depression in the Body

Low Energy

Many people with depression feel listless and fatigued during all hours of the day.  For these individuals, regular exercise can increase energy, as well as provide the added benefits of better quality of sleep, improved mood and better overall health and wellness.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep troubles are a common symptom of depression.  Many individuals report sleeping too much or at odd hours, while others have difficulty falling or staying asleep.  Exercise can lead to improved sleep habits, as can over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies, such as melatonin and chamomile.

Food cravings

Many people with depression experience high or low blood sugar levels.  These fluctuations in blood glucose can lead to cravings for sugary, starchy foods.  These cravings only lead to more sluggishness and fatigue, and can be avoided by eating balanced meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.


Hormonal disturbances, as well as the stress associated with depression, can often cause acne; especially those suffering from postpartum or adolescent depression.  This can be remedies through topical cleaners and astringents, as well as exercise, a balanced diet and relaxation techniques.

Aches and pains

Muscle aches, pain in bones and joints, headaches and stomach cramps are all common symptoms of depression.  There are many way to alleviate depression-related aches and pains, including exercise, yoga and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Weakened Immunity

Due to chemical imbalances in the brain, depression can increase susceptibility to colds and viruses.  This can be helped by getting plenty of vitamin C, as well as taking multivitamins and other supplements.

Heart Disease and Heart Attacks

People who suffer from depression are more likely to have heart attacks than those who don’t.  Researchers aren’t sure why this is or how the two are related but there is an established link between the two.   Individuals who have other risk factors for heart disease are encourage to adopt a healthy lifestyle and reduce the stress and anxiety in their lives as those are factors in both depression and heart disease.

The physical aspects of depression can be just as difficult to handle as the psychological and emotional symptoms.  For those suffering from mild to moderate depression, healthier lifestyle choices can often help alleviate these symptoms, both physical and mental.  However, for those with severe depression, professional treatment is recommended.  Many antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs are designed to treat psychological symptoms, as well as physical problems such as insomnia and aches and pains.


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