Physical Symptoms of Depression

Energy Level: I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Lack of energy, excessive fatigue and unrelenting tiredness are the characteristics of the melancholic. Walking, talking, cleaning the house, getting ready for work, or doing a project can take considerably longer time than usual. The lowered energy level and lowered interest in activities affects job performance. The severely depressed don’t get dressed, and either stay in bed or lie around the house.

Sleep Disturbance: I didn’t sleep again last night!

Having trouble sleeping is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Although some people feel like sleeping all of the time, it is more common to hear about insomnia. Initial insomnia (sleep-onset insomnia) is the difficulty of falling asleep, which is more likely for those struggling with anxiety disorders. Depression is more commonly associated with terminal insomnia. They fall asleep out of shear fatigue, but then wake up and can’t get back to sleep. The inability to sleep contributes to the downward spiral of depression and leaves the sufferer with less energy for tomorrow.

Activity level: Why bother!

Depression is accompanied by a decreased involvement in meaningful activities, having a lack of interest in life and commitment to follow through. Many find it difficult to pray because God seems like a distant figure.

Lack of sex drive: Not tonight!

Accompanying this loss of desire for sex is a wish for isolation, feelings of worthlessness, criticism of one’s own appearance, loss of spontaneity, and apathy. The emotional state of depression usually creates problems in relationships, which obviously further curtails the desire to be intimate.

Somatic complaint: I ache all over!

Many depressed people report physical aches and pains such as headaches, stomach ache and lower back pain, which can be quite severe. In a state of depression David wrote, "I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body" (Psalm 38:6-7).

Loss of Appetite: I’m not hungry!

Depression is often accompanied by a decrease in appetite. However, in 20% of the cases they seek comfort in food.

Dr. Neil

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