Intending to explore the symptoms of physical, psychological, and behavioral depression, in this article, we present over 60 signs of depression. Their intensity and severity vary from person to person in terms of physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects. Continue reading the article until the end for more details about the symptoms of depression.
depression symptoms in delail
Depression is a chronic mental illness that affects the body, mind, and behavior to varying degrees of severity and seriousness from one patient to another. According to reports from the World Health Organization, depression affects a large number of people worldwide, with a prevalence rate exceeding 300 million individuals. Statistics indicate a potential increase in the future due to mounting life pressures, the rapid pace of daily events, and challenging social circumstances.
Depression is an extremely serious mental illness, and it is possible to be currently afflicted with it without even realizing that you are suffering from depression. This makes it one of the silent diseases, which are rarely diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Considering that depression has various different types, it also progresses through stages in which this mental illness gradually intensifies.
It starts with mild depression, characterized by mild symptoms that are often overlooked by the patient. However, over time, the patient transitions to moderate depression, during which they begin to experience partial effects of the symptoms on their body, mind, and behavior. Then, it progresses to severe and chronic depression, where the patient becomes incapable of carrying on with life due to the severe complications of depression on their physical, mental, and behavioral health. Ultimately, this can lead individuals with depression to contemplate suicide and self-harm.
Depression has numerous interconnected and intertwined causes. While genetic predisposition plays a significant role, with inherited genes from the family often passing depression from parents to children, it's important not to feel discouraged or victimized. There are many other environmental, behavioral, and social factors that also contribute to the causes of depression. Moreover, controlling these factors can be helpful, as evidenced by the field of epigenetics, which suggests that more than 80% of depression patients respond well to treatment and experience a reduction in the series of depression symptoms that we will explore in the following article.
physical symptoms of depression
physical symptoms of depression related to the nerveus system
• Memory impairment: Numerous studies and scientific research in neuroscience have confirmed that the brains of depressed patients experience degeneration and deterioration in certain structures. Specifically, the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and recall, undergoes negative changes that adversely affect academic performance.
• Inattention and distractibility: Depression affects the brain, particularly the frontal lobe, which makes it difficult for individuals to control and organize their thoughts. Family members and friends often notice that the person is consistently distracted and disengaged in real-life situations, as they seem indifferent and lost in their own thoughts and fantasies.
• Concentration difficulties: Another sign of depression is the patient's significant difficulty in maintaining focus. Depressed students, for example, are unable to sustain the same level of concentration during lessons, quickly losing attention to what the teacher is saying and becoming lost in their thoughts and daydreams.
• Migraines or headaches: Depressed individuals also often complain of migraines or headaches, which can vary in intensity. The pain may increase during times of nervous tension and psychological pressure, while it may decrease during moments of calm and relaxation.
physical symptoms of depression related to Gastrointestinal system
• Alternating diarrhea and severe or chronic constipation: Depression affects the brain and its vital functions, as the brain controls both major and minor processes within the body. It can affect the movement of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the muscles of the colon. At times, these muscles may accelerate, leading to diarrhea, while at other times they may slow down, resulting in severe constipation.
• Belching and acute or chronic vomiting: Depression disturbs the signals coming from the brain that affect the nerves of the stomach and esophagus, specifically those responsible for closing the lower esophageal sphincter directly connected to the stomach cavity. As a result, belching and vomiting occur due to the backflow of hydrochloric acid (HCl) outside the digestive system.
• Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating: Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common functional disorders that affect the large intestines, and it is experienced by a significant number of people worldwide. However, few of them are aware that irritable bowel syndrome is just one of the symptoms of depression, in which the brain affects the coordinated movement of the large intestinal muscles.
• Severe stomach and intestinal pain: Feeling pain, cramps, and spasms is one of the most common physical symptoms of depression, affecting the stomach and intestines. The intensity of these symptoms increases when exposed to nervous tension and acute psychological pressure. The psychological pain experienced by depressed individuals manifests as digestive disorders.
• Gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn: In most cases, individuals who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn experience it due to lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction. This sphincter becomes incapable of holding stomach acid, leading to its leakage into the esophagus, resulting in stomach discomfort. What many patients overlook is that the sensation of heartburn is often psychogenic rather than organic, caused by depression or other psychological disorders.
• Gas and abdominal bloating: Many depressed patients experience excessive gas because the psychological disorder slows down the peristaltic movement of the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to constipation, causing the accumulation of feces within the colon. Bacteria are attracted to this accumulation, and they produce gases that cause abdominal bloating.
Physical symptoms of depression related to the circulatory system
• Disturbances in blood vessel contractions: In normal circumstances, blood vessels contract and relax continuously, allowing blood to flow properly between different organs of the body. However, depression can cause disruptions in blood vessel contractions, hindering the proper circulation of blood between organs.
• Blood pressure fluctuations: Individuals with depression often experience fluctuations in blood pressure. Severe sadness can strain the nerves connecting the hypothalamus and the heart muscle, resulting in increased blood flow and elevated arterial pressure, directing blood to the extremities and muscles.
• Chest pain and heartburn: One of the most common symptoms of depression is chest pain, which can be severe and accompanied by discomfort. Many patients with chronic and serious psychological illnesses, like depression, also complain of heartburn.
• Irregular heartbeats: This condition occurs in patients with depression due to random releases of adrenaline from the adrenal gland. Adrenaline raises heart rate and blood pressure, causing the patient to feel sudden, rapid heartbeats without any apparent reason, followed by a slowdown. This can be distressing for individuals with depression, leading them to undergo cardiac examinations, only to find no underlying health issues.
Physical symptoms of depression related to the Respiratory System
• Difficulty and shortness of breath: Depression can affect normal breathing, with many patients complaining of difficulty and shortness of breath. This is often caused by excessive activity in the adrenal gland, leading to the release of high concentrations of adrenaline and cortisol. This can result in the contraction of chest muscles, making it difficult for the patient to inhale oxygen.
• Feeling of suffocation: If you feel a heaviness on your chest or as if someone is choking you, depression may be the cause. The airways in the lungs can be affected by negative emotions, particularly during panic attacks and severe sadness. Additionally, gas accumulation in the colon can push the diaphragm muscle toward the lungs, restricting breathing space and causing a feeling of suffocation.
Physical symptoms of depression related to the Immune System
• Tissue and organ inflammation: Several recent scientific studies, such as those mentioned on the pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih website, confirm the strong association between depression and inflammation affecting various tissues and organs in the body, including the stomach, intestines, lungs, kidneys, joints, brain, and nerves. General inflammation occurs when the adrenal glands suppress and weaken the natural production of cortisol, a chemical that helps combat inflammation.
• General immune system weakness: Continuing from the previous study, patients with depression often experience severe immune system weakness. In this state, the body becomes vulnerable to opportunistic diseases like the common cold or minor injuries. Negative emotions, such as intense sadness and panic attacks, significantly impact the immune system, causing it to lose many of its vital functions. Conversely, positive emotions like joy and happiness strengthen the body's immunity and its ability to fight diseases.
Physical symptoms of depression of Urinary System
• Increased urination frequency: Depressed patients often feel a constant urge to urinate and visit the bathroom frequently. However, only a few drops of urine may be expelled, and sometimes nothing comes out. This is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes a disturbance in the nerves of the bladder, making them irritated and unable to retain urine.
• Severe pain after urination: Some depressed patients may experience a burning sensation and intense pain after urinating, which spreads to the genital area. The patient may also feel itching and tingling, which can last between 10 to 20 minutes. While not a serious health issue, it can be bothersome for the patient.
Physical Symptoms of depression of Reproductive System
• Vaginal itching: Depression can cause women to experience itching in sensitive areas, especially the vagina, which may become red. This can indicate the presence of inflammation, and married women may feel pain during sexual intercourse with their spouse. This can lead to a dislike of intimate relationships and result in various psychological problems between partners.
• Sexual dysfunction and low libido: Depressed patients often suffer from sexual dysfunction, including impotence and decreased desire in both men and women. This can threaten marital relationships, leading to separation and divorce. However, some individuals may experience a high sex drive, which can be overwhelming and repetitive, causing discomfort and annoyance to the partner.
• Erectile dysfunction: Men also experience erection problems due to depression, as it leads to the release of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood. This affects the nerves that stimulate the male organ and facilitate blood flow to it. However, in contrast, some men may experience persistent erections due to high testosterone levels.
• Menstrual cycle disturbances: Depression significantly affects women compared to men, as it disrupts the menstrual cycle due to hormonal imbalances. This imbalance affects the regulation of menstrual processes in girls, causing continuous bleeding or intermittent bleeding. This can cause significant discomfort and inconvenience for girls in their studies and work.
Physical symptoms of depression related to the musculoskeletal system
• Muscle spasms and pain: If you are experiencing depression, you may feel severe pain in your body's muscles, which can move from one location to another. This pain can be in the form of irritating tingling sensations that bother the patient in their daily life. The high secretion of adrenaline and cortisol hormones is the cause behind this pain, which causes the muscles to contract for a long period and prevents them from returning to their natural relaxed state. This is because individuals with depression are constantly exposed to chronic nervous tension and psychological pressures.
• Muscle flaccidity: When the body's muscles contract for a long time without relaxing, they become stressed and lose their vitality, eventually becoming incapable of contraction. This causes patients with depression to experience muscle flaccidity, which negatively affects their youthful appearance and has a negative impact on their mental state over time.
• Leg, shoulder, or hand pain: Occasionally, if you are suffering from depression, you may feel pain and tingling in your legs intermittently. You may also experience cramps in the shoulders, especially under the left armpit, and the pain can extend to the spine and hands. This occurs due to the high concentration of adrenaline and cortisol hormones in the blood and the decrease in calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and others.
• Loss of mobility and activity: Individuals with depression have reduced mobility; they tend to stay in one place and their dark room all the time and do not enjoy going out of the house. They lack the motivation and drive to engage in any activity that would consume energy, which their bodies cannot replenish. This is because the adrenal gland becomes depleted and incapable of secreting more energy hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
• Inability to work: It is natural for a depressed patient to feel unable to work simply because they lack sufficient energy. The adrenal gland becomes incapable, the muscles become flaccid, and even their cognitive and neural abilities become weak. These factors and others contribute to increasing the psychological pressure on the patient, making them hate work and any physical activity that requires energy.
• Tremors and numbness in the hands and legs: Depression causes a problem known as Restless Leg Syndrome, which makes the patient move their legs in an annoying manner. This is due to the disorder in the peripheral spinal nerves that connect the brain to the spinal cord and the leg muscles. Additionally, patients with depression may experience constant numbness and tremors in the hands, which intensify under stress, psychological pressure, and nervous tension.
Physical symptoms of depression related to the endocrine system
• Pancreatic dysfunction: The pancreas regulates carbohydrate metabolism and digestive processes in the duodenum. Depression affects the hormones produced by the pancreas, especially insulin, which can put the patient at risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, depression can lead to digestive problems due to elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which decrease pancreatic secretions.
• Reproductive gland disorders: The reproductive glands, such as the ovaries in women and the testes in men, play a vital role in physical and psychological well-being by producing essential hormones. Individuals with depression often experience dysfunction of these glands, leading to various health issues.
• Adrenal gland disorders: The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, continuously secrete hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in response to external conditions, enabling the body to adapt and cope with the environment. However, over time, these glands can become weakened and unable to produce these crucial hormones, negatively impacting both physical and mental health.
• Pituitary gland disorders: Situated at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland acts as the conductor of the body's endocrine system, controlling all other glands. It is also affected by depression, causing an imbalance in hormone regulation throughout the body and resulting in several other health problems.
• Pineal gland disorders: The pineal gland, located in the center of the brain, plays a crucial role in regulating sleep-wake cycles. When affected by depression, its function becomes disrupted, leading to reduced production of the sleep hormone melatonin, derived from serotonin, which is often deficient in depressed individuals. This disruption can cause insomnia and difficulty in sleeping and relaxing.
• Thyroid gland disorders: The thyroid gland plays a significant role in activating metabolic processes by producing hormones T3 and T4, regulating anabolism and catabolism. However, depression can impair its function, leading to decreased production of these hormones, resulting in various serious health issues.
• Sweat gland disorders: If you have depression, you may notice that you sweat excessively compared to those around you. This is because your body is in a state of heightened mental, psychological, and muscular activity, stimulating different chemical processes that cause water to be released onto the skin for cooling purposes.
other physical symptoms of depression
• Body temperature disturbances: Many factors and organs, notably the thyroid gland and the hypothalamus, are involved in maintaining normal body temperature. In cases of depression, these organs become disrupted, initially causing the person to experience sensations of heat. As depression progresses, the person may start feeling cold, especially in the extremities, accompanied by constant shivering.
• Coma and loss of consciousness: Some individuals with depression may experience coma and subsequent loss of self-awareness and awareness of the external environment. This can occur due to various reasons, including deficiencies in essential nutrients such as minerals and vitamins, as well as respiratory distress and inadequate oxygen supply to the brain. This health issue can indicate significant neurological exhaustion commonly experienced by individuals with depression.
• Weight gain or loss: Individuals with depression often struggle with weight issues. There is a wide range of patients who complain of pathological thinness, unaware that psychological factors, such as depression, can be major contributing causes. On the other hand, some cases experience obesity and increased body fat. They may try various methods to lose excess weight and burn fat, but are unsuccessful, forgetting that depression can also lead to weight gain.
• Aggravation of skin problems: Individuals with depression often experience various skin issues, including psoriasis, acne, eczema, pallor and dryness, premature aging, and wrinkles. While depression is not the primary cause of these problems, it plays a role in exacerbating their appearance.
• Worsening of hair problems: Depressed individuals commonly experience several hair problems, especially in women. Intense feelings of sadness, psychological and nervous stress can weaken hair strands due to mineral and vitamin deprivation. Additionally, serotonin deficiency worsens dandruff issues on the scalp and gives the hair an unattractive appearance.