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Published on July 14, 2015

Recognizing the Physical Symptoms of Depression

When you think of depression symptoms, you probably think of someone looking sad and withdrawing from friends. While these are, in fact, some of the symptoms of depression, depression can also manifest itself in physical symptoms that appear to be unrelated to a mental health issue.

It is fairly common for people with depression to suffer headaches. It also causes regular migraine sufferers with depression to feel the pain more intensely. People who typically experience back pain may also feel the pain more if they are depressed. Other ways that depression can manifest itself as physical symptoms are muscle and joint pain, appetite changes, and more.

If you have any of these symptoms, visit your health care provider. Be sure to share with him or her if you think depression might be causing symptoms. Take a quick mental health self-assessment first to help you determine if you have symptoms consistent with depression. You may even want to print out the results and review them with your health care provider.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dr. Dave Miers is the counseling and program development manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb. He also co-chairs the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Dr. Miers has published research focusing on family survivors of teen suicide and co-authored a chapter in an international handbook for clinical suicide research on the role of professionals in helping families after a child’s suicide. Dr. Miers assisted in the development of the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors team in Lincoln, Neb.


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