Are your physical symptoms the result of stress or depression?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Mental and emotional problems can cause physical symptoms.

Stress, depression, and anxiety can result in damage to your physical health. If you are having physical health symptoms, you should always get those symptoms checked out by a medical doctor. But if your doctor has run all the tests and not found a physical cause for your problem, you may need an emotional checkup with a mental health professional. Therapy can improve your mental health and result in a reduction in physical health symptoms. Below are some of the physical symptoms which could be caused by a mental or emotional problem.

Do you feel tired all the time?

Emotional problems such as depression or job burnout can make you feel both physically and emotionally exhausted. If you find yourself being just flat worn out all the time, and there isn’t a good physical reason for it, the cause may be an emotional or mental disorder.

Being emotionally tired can carry over into being physically tired. Depression can wear you out. In one type of depression, people become so tired they find it challenging to walk may describe their bodies as being made of lead. It’s hard to be motivated when you feel like your best efforts won’t accomplish anything. Feeling helpless and hopeless will take all the energy out of your body.

Are you sleeping too much or too little?

Changes in sleep is a characteristic symptom of either depression or anxiety. There are two types of depression, melancholy and atypical. In melancholy depression, people can’t sleep. In atypical depression, people have an increased need for sleep. The connection between sleep and mental health works in both directions. Mental illness interferes with your ability to sleep. Pushing yourself too hard and not allowing enough time for sleep can cause depression, irritability, or an increase in anxiety.

Has your appetite unexpectedly changed?

Some physical ailments will affect your appetite. But it’s equally true that emotional upset can affect your appetite. When you’re anxious or depressed, you may not feel like eating. People with atypical depression will have sudden cravings for sugar or carbohydrates. Many people experience emotional eating. When upset you find yourself eating mindlessly? If your emotional eating has gotten out of control, you may be suffering from a condition called Binge Eating Disorder.

Have you lost interest in sex?

Losing interest in sex can be a symptom of depression. In couples going through marital conflict, loss of interest in sex is a common symptom. It’s hard to feel interested in being intimate with someone when you’re angry with them.

Do you worry a lot about your health?

Being concerned about your health is reasonable. Everyone should try to eat a healthy diet and get adequate exercise. If your worries about your health have started to take over your life, you need to get professional help. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can result in people who feel they must eat certain foods or absolutely can’t eat others. If your relationship with food makes you anxious, you likely have a diagnosable mental health problem.

Depression can also cause or worsen many other physical symptoms.

Emotional problems can cause constipation or diarrhea, increase or worsen pain, make you feel lightheaded, trembling, or experience numbness. If you have seen a recent change in your physical health, get it checked out by a medical doctor. But you should also be alert to the possibility that these physical symptoms of the results of stress, depression, anxiety, or another mental illness.

Besides depression and anxiety, you should be on the lookout for other serious mental illnesses.

If you or someone you know starts having unusual thoughts or suddenly has episodes of high irritability and impulsive behavior, these could be early symptoms of psychosis or mania. Don’t ignore these kinds of issues as they can get worse very rapidly.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.