Physical symptoms of Depression | Dr. Vikram Sharma

Chest pain can be a sign of heart problems — and sometimes it can surprisingly be a sign of depression as well. Let us try to understand in what ways depression can affect your body.

Sleep Problems

Depression can affect your body as well as your mind. Difficulty falling asleep or getting restful or sound sleep is a common problem in people who are depressed. Some people with depression feel sleepy too often and also sleep more than normal.

Chest Pain

If you feel chest pain, don’t assume it the other way. First of all, consult a cardiologist to rule out heart problems. In addition, chest pain can also be a sign of digestive tract problems, lung, and other chest problems. Sometimes, though, it’s also a symptom of a panic attack, anxiety, and depression.

Depression can also raise your risk of heart disease. Plus, people who’ve had heart attacks are more likely to be depressed.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

Many of us tend to ignore this major sign of depression. Even after taking ample rest and sleeping the whole night – and taking intermittent rest throughout the day, if you feel lethargic, tired, and sluggish, and don’t have energy for everyday tasks, then there is a signal pointing towards depression. Fatigue and depression go hand in hand as both these together tend to make your condition severe.

Aching Muscles and Joints

Have you ever encountered persistent pain and body aches, muscle pain, joint pains, and headaches? These are the persistent signs and symptoms associated with depression. Furthermore, your ongoing pain can also increase the risk of depression.

If you have severe or chronic pain you may suffer from anxiety or depression. Both depression and painful conditions share chemical messengers in the brain. Depressed people are 3 to 4 times more likely to get regular pain.

Digestive Problems

Painful conditions especially chronic migraines can get you nausea, vomiting, and stomach aches. The same is true if you are under tremendous stress, worry, or depression. The reason, our brains, and digestive systems are closely linked together.

Depression can get you in your gut too — causing nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation.


Headaches, migraines, and depression go hand in hand. Persistent headaches (chronic headaches) are one of the prominent signs of depression. A few scientific studies show that people with major clinical depression are more likely to have migraines. In addition, people with chronic headaches or migraines are four to five times more likely to get depressed.

Changes in Appetite or Weight

The most common physical changes associated with depression are either loss of appetite or gain in appetite. This means you may have either increased hunger or less hungry to eat. The result can be weight gain or loss, along with a lack of energy. Some people may develop an urge to eat unhealthy or processed foods. Depression, in general, is linked to eating disorders – such as binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia.

Back Pain

When you experience back pain regularly, this could lead to irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and depression. And people who are depressed maybe four times more likely to get intense, disabling neck, back pain -especially lower back pain.

Physical Symptoms of Depression

Agitation and Restlessness

One of the most prominent symptoms of depression is restlessness or irritability and agitation. Men are more likely to feel this way compared to women when they are depressed. People who are depressed often suffer from sleep problems – insomnia and restless leg syndrome. When a person suffers from sleep problems, he or she is more likely to feel agitated or restless.

Sexual Problems

If you’re depressed, you might lose interest in sex. Some individuals may develop short-term erectile dysfunction, ejaculation problems, and decreased sex performance. The prescription drugs that are used to treat depression may also affect the sex drive and libido. The drugs can also affect – ejaculation process – making it either too long or premature. Therefore, those who are taking anti-depressants should talk to their doctor regarding the best medicine options for them to consider. Low testosterone levels are also linked to Depression

How to Improve Physical Symptoms of Depression


There is no hard and fast rule or thumb rule that indicates that physical activity can cure depression. However, it can help in easing the symptoms if done over a long period. The health benefits of exercise, in the long run, are quite promising if depressed individuals somehow try to overcome their sluggishness and indulge in exercise. There is strong research to justify the claim that regular exercise helps in improving your mood, making you feel good and also reducing your sensitivity to pain. This is due to the release of feel-good and healthy chemicals from the brain.

Remember! For depressed individuals, it is very difficult to get into the groove – to get out of the couch and onto the ramp. This means getting the energy to exercise is tough, but exercise can ease their fatigue and help them sleep better.

Bottom line

Physical symptoms of depression are not very easy to comprehend unless depression has been diagnosed. Therefore, many people resort to taking medicines to get rid of muscle pain, body aches, and headaches. They try to address their symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of their symptoms – that is, depression.