Nearly everyone feels sad or gets the blues now and then. After all, life is full of challenges! But, major depressive disorder is more than feeling down.
At Apex Medical Center, our highly trained experts help many patients who have depression, which is a very treatable condition. One thing we’ve found is that most people don’t realize that depression affects your physical health even though it’s a mental health disorder.
Mental symptoms of depression
You probably already know some of the symptoms of depression. For example, if you’ve ever been depressed or know someone who has, you likely noticed that it often involves a lack of interest in almost everything, even things that you once found enjoyable.
Some people describe it as a feeling of emptiness or one of hopelessness. Additionally, you may experience feelings of guilt or worthlessness. You may also find that you have difficulty concentrating, or as if your brain feels slow.
Overall, the feelings associated with depression tend to be negative.
Physical symptoms of depression
Along with the more well-known mental symptoms of depression, you may experience some physical symptoms as well. For example, many people with depression find it difficult to sleep. Some people experience weight loss or weight gain without effort.
Many people report feeling fatigue when they are depressed. Fatigue is more than simply being tired. If you imagine how you feel after you’ve had the flu for a week or two, it’s a bit closer to fatigue, compared to how you feel if you got up early and had a busy day.
Unexplained aches and pains are a very common symptom of depression. Such pain may be debilitating, and most often affects areas such as the back, neck, or joints, and it doesn’t respond to treatment.
Other physical symptoms of depression may be more serious. For example, depression can raise your risk of heart disease because your body produces more cortisol and other stress-related hormones.
Headache syndromes and stomach issues like ulcers are also linked to depression. Some conditions, like various autoimmune conditions, cancer, and diabetes, are associated with depression, although researchers don’t fully understand the association. It may be that having cancer could cause depression, but it’s not likely that being depressed can make it more likely you’ll develop cancer.
Treatment for depression
Depression can make simply living your day-to-day life difficult, but the good news is that it’s a condition that usually responds to treatment. The most appropriate treatment for you depends on a host of factors, including your overall health, your situation, and whether various approaches have worked for you or not in the past.
We always begin with a thorough physical exam, and by taking an extensive medical history. Then, our doctors work with you to identify a treatment approach that’s likely to work for you. We may suggest counseling, lifestyle changes, medication, or most often, a combination of treatments.
If you suspect you’re depressed, schedule an appointment at one of the three locations of Apex Medical Center today. Effective treatments are available. You don’t have to live with depression.