World Mental Health Day 2021| Depression: Physical Symptoms And Remedies

A study, published in The Lancet, reveals that Covid-19 pandemic has caused additional 53 million cases of major depressive disorder and 76 million cases of anxiety disorders.

“Countries hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest increases in cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders,” said the authors, urging the governments and policy makers to improve mental health systems globally to meet increased demand due to the pandemic.

According to webmd, depression is a complex disease. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it can happen for a variety of reasons. Some people have depression during a serious medical illness. Others may have depression with life changes such as a move or the death of a loved one. Still others have a family history of depression. Those who do may have depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no known reason.

According to the Medical News Today, depression is a mood disorder that affects how someone thinks, feels, and behaves. It may cause them to feel sad, worthless, or numb for prolonged periods. Typically, people experience a loss of interest or pleasure in the things they usually enjoy.

Depression can cause physical as well as psychological symptoms.
People usually seek medical help when they are affected by psychological problems. However, the study suggests that the common physical symptoms of depression including fatigue, sleeping more or less than usual, and appetite changes also throw light on the severity of the disease.

The physical symptoms are usually occurred due to changes in brain activity, hormone levels, or neurotransmitter levels.

The physical symptoms include:

  • tiredness or fatigue
  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • an increase or decrease in appetite
  • slow speech or movements
  • unexplained pain or headaches
  • loss of interest in sex, known as a low libido
  • constipation or diarrhea

A person’s behavior may also be impacted by tiredness or feelings of apathy . The person may give little care on self-care and it would lead to appearance changes including lose or gain weight and
lack of personal hygiene.

However, not everyone with depression will be affected by physical symptoms. Some affected persons will carry out their daily activities without any hindrance.

Treatments for depression can help relieve the physical symptoms, as well as the psychological ones.

Causes of physical symptoms:

According to the studies, physical symptoms due to depression are caused by multiple physiological changes that take place in the body.

The treatment for depression includes combination of talk therapy and medications. Antidepressants can reduce the symptoms of depression. Conducting talk therapy help find the underlying causes and manage the thoughts and feelings.

The therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps understand the relationships between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

For forms of depression that have a specific physiological cause, such as seasonal or hormonal changes, the treatment may involve additional steps. For example, a person with SAD may benefit from light therapy and safe exposure to sunlight, Medical News Today report said.

Coping Techniques to deal with the physical symptoms of depression according to the Medical News Today:

  • Setting priorities: When someone has limited energy, it can help to focus only on the essential tasks. These may include personal hygiene practices, meal preparation, and pet care. A person might find it helpful to write down the most important tasks for each day and put the list on a noticeboard or the refrigerator as a reminder.
  • Breaking tasks down: People can make large jobs feel more manageable by breaking them down into smaller steps and focusing on doing one step at a time. For example, instead of trying to clean their home in one go, they can focus on cleaning one small area.
  • Setting a timer: If finishing a task is challenging, a person can try setting a timer and focusing on that task for a set amount of time, even if it is just a few minutes.
  • Cooking in batches: Preparing multiple servings of a meal allows people to chill or freeze additional portions for later. This can help when a person does not have much energy or motivation to cook. Simple one-pot or slow-cooked meals are useful, as they involve less effort and fewer dishes to clean.
  • Reducing cleaning: A few simple changes, such as placing a doormat at the front door or taking shoes off before walking inside the home, can reduce how much cleaning is necessary.
  • Enlisting help: Social support is an important part of recovering from depression, both emotionally and physically. A person may be able to reach out to understanding friends, family, or neighbors for extra help.