Can Depression Make You Sick? Physical Effects of Depression and Anxiety

Depression is a debilitating mental illness that leaves people feeling hopeless and unmotivated. But what many people don’t realize is that depression can also have physical effects on the body. Can depression make you sick? Let’s discuss the topic in depth.
can depression make you sick

Quick Guide

  • Yes, depression may cause physical pain, discomfort, and other symptoms.
  • Physical depression symptoms include headaches, fatigue, stomach upset, and sleep disturbances.
  • In the long-term, depression can increase the risk of hypertension and cause chronic inflammation.

Physical Symptoms of Depression vs. Anxiety

It can be difficult to differentiate between physical symptoms caused by depression and those caused by anxiety. Both can cause aches and pains, headaches, fatigue, stomach issues, and sleep disturbances. So, can depression make you sick? Yes, it can.

Physical Symptoms of Depression vs. Anxiety

The listed symptoms can also be caused by other illnesses, such as the flu or a vitamin deficiency. It’s crucial to see a doctor and rule out any other possible causes before assuming the symptoms are related to depression or anxiety.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Many people with depression experience gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, stomach pain, and changes in appetite. In fact, a 2021 study in China found that 70% of individuals with depression also have gastrointestinal symptoms. These can delay diagnosis and treatment, as the patient might think that they’re physically sick rather than experiencing depression.

Our Reader’s Story ✏️

I had been having stomachaches for weeks, and it was starting to affect my daily life. I was constantly in pain and I was worried something was wrong with me. So I went to the doctor to get checked out.

After a few tests, I was expecting to hear that I had an infection or a virus, but instead the doctor told me that my stomachaches were likely psychosomatic. I was shocked. I thought he was downplaying my symptoms at first, because I had never connected my stomachaches with my mental health before.

Then I went to a psychiatrist, who asked me a lot of questions and ultimately diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. It turned out my stomachaches were a physical manifestation of my mental health issues. After I started treatment, they slowly began to get better.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

Depression can have a negative impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. A 2013 study found that individuals with depression were more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension, even after adjusting for factors such as age, gender, and obesity. Another study found that depression can lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Immune System Changes

Depression can also affect the immune system, leading to increased inflammation. A 2020 review found that individuals with depression had higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood, indicating a potential link between depression and chronic inflammation. This can lead to an increased risk of various illnesses and diseases.

How Can Depression Make You Physically Sick? The Mechanism

Depression can have a huge impact on the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to illness and disease. In severely depressed people, production of the stress hormone cortisol increases, leading to inflammation in the body and increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, depression can lead to unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and lack of exercise. All of these can contribute to physical illness and worsen existing conditions.

There is no evidence, however, that mild depression can directly cause physical illnesses. In fact, the notion that depression is caused by low levels of serotonin (which also plays a role in wound healing and digestion) is currently being challenged by researchers.

Can Depression Make You Sick to the Point of Physical Illness?

Depression can weaken the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold or flu. It can also worsen existing health conditions, leading to potentially serious physical illness. For example, depression can worsen heart disease and increase the risk of stroke.

But it’s important to remember that depression itself is not a physical illness. Treating it isn’t as simple as taking a pill or getting surgery. It can take time and effort to find the right combination of therapy and medication, and it’s crucial to have support from loved ones and healthcare professionals.

Can depression make you sick? Yes, it can lead to physical symptoms and if severe enough, worsen existing health conditions. It’s important to seek help and treatment for depression to not only improve mental well-being, but also physical health.

Can Depression Make You Feel Ill All the Time?

Do you feel constantly ill or exhausted? It can be difficult to determine if these physical symptoms are caused by depression or another illness. It’s important to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Depression can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue and changes in appetite, but it might be worth checking for nutrient deficiencies or other medical issues as well.

Can Depression Make You Feel Ill All the Time?

In some cases, depression can co-occur with a physical illness, such as thyroid disease or fibromyalgia. If you suspect this may be the case, speak to your healthcare team about getting a comprehensive evaluation.

Is There a Link Between Pain and Depression?

Back pain or headaches can be a symptom of depression. On the other hand, chronic pain can cause feelings of depression and worsen symptoms. It can also lead to a decrease in physical activity, impacting the health of the spine.

Treating Depression to Improve Physical Health

The good news is that treating depression can improve physical health as well. Therapy can help manage symptoms and prevent unhealthy habits, such as excessive alcohol consumption. Antidepressants can also have physical benefits – they can boost your energy levels and improve sleep. But they might also cause serious side effects, so it’s important to work closely with your doctor and therapist to find the right medication and dosage for you.

In conclusion, can depression make you sick? Yes, in some ways. If you’re experiencing physical symptoms that may be related to depression or anxiety, make sure to see a doctor and discuss any concerns. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help with depression – it can have a significant impact on both your mental and physical well-being.

FAQs About Depression and Health

FAQs About Depression and Health

Does Depression Give You Flu-Like Symptoms?

Yes, depressive symptoms can mimic those of the flu. You may experience flu-like symptoms due to weariness and low energy levels that are brought on by depression. Furthermore, some depressed people develop digestive problems like nausea and abdominal pain, both of which are linked to influenza.

Why Do Depressed People Get Sick?

When feeling depressed, many people suffer from bodily ailments like headaches, lethargy, stomachaches, and sometimes chest pain. Changes in neurotransmitter levels that take place during depression – and the body’s reaction to them – may be the cause of these medical problems. Additionally, people who are depressed often find it difficult to take care of themselves, which can make them prone to illness.

What Can Sadness Do to Your Body?

Your immunity may be compromised, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses and infections. The immune system is suppressed by the hormone cortisol, which the body produces when one is depressed or under stress.

Can Emotional Stress Make You Throw Up?

Yes, emotional stress can make you throw up. Stressful feelings and ideas stimulate the digestive tract, which can result in nausea and occasionally vomiting. In order to raise your heart rate, your body could also release adrenaline, which can make you feel queasy in the stomach.

What Mental Illness Makes You Feel Sick?

If you’re feeling sick without an actual illness to explain it, you may be suffering from illness anxiety disorder (hypochondriasis). Panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are other mental illnesses that can make you feel physically uncomfortable. Symptoms can range from digestive problems to headaches or extreme fatigue.

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