It can be incredibly dangerous to discredit the physical symptoms of a mental illness when reaching out for or seeking help. This is especially true for chronic depression, as a high percentage of patients with chronic depression who seek treatment report the physical symptoms only to their primary care provider, rather than their therapist.
Just because the symptoms don’t sound “sad,” doesn’t mean they aren’t caused by chronic depression. This self-diagnosis ignores the deep biological connection between our physical state of being and our mental one.
The same neurotransmitters that control our pain and our mood can get dysregulated, creating an inability to regulate our emotional responses. This can cause an influx of symptoms ranging from memory difficulties and persistent physical pain to social isolation and suicidal thoughts.
The issue isn’t simply self-diagnosis either. Many physicians may consider a patient’s chronic depression to be in remission if their emotional symptoms improve. This oversight can allow physical symptoms to remain or even develop further, which is a common factor in the likelihood of a relapse.
Common Physical Warning Signs of Chronic Depression You Should Know
So. what symptoms should we be looking out for? When it comes to mental health, there is no comprehensive checklist for symptoms, whether they are mental or physical.
Any list of this nature is designed to act more like a lighthouse than an alarm; recognize the rocks ahead and develop a plan to course correct rather than dropping anchor or abandoning ship.
- Memory Loss – Some individuals will have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering previous behaviors or interests.
- Chronic Pain – Persistent physical aches such as unexplained headaches, stomach issues, back pain or can manifest physically from chronic depression.
- General Fatigue – A wave of tiredness such as sleeping too much or too little, a loss of interest in sex, or an increase/decrease in appetite can point to a pathological state of lethargy
- Self-Isolation – A desire for social avoidance is common in chronic depression, and can lead to a withdrawal from activities with friends and family.
So, whether you are worried about yourself or a loved one, don’t be discouraged. Depression can be treated with psychotherapy, and there are many techniques for reorganizing and coping with the challenges chronic depression can levy.
The earlier chronic depression is diagnosed and treatment begins, the better. There are no reasons to wait for symptoms to progress or become more severe before seeking help. Don’t ignore these physical warning signs, get evaluated by a therapist as soon as possible.