Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"If you have psychological problems can they cause physical problems?"
If a person has a psychological problem like depression does it also cause physical problems?
A psychological problem such as depression is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain function. In general, people who have low self-esteem, are consistently pessimistic, or are readily overwhelmed by stress are prone to depression. But physical changes in the body (stroke, heart attack, cancer, and hormonal disorders, etc.) can also trigger depression. On the other hand, depression can affect the physical health. Physical symptoms are common in depression. In fact, vague aches and pain are often the presenting symptoms of depression and may lead to chronic pain and complicate treatment. Many people with depression suffer from chronic pain that includes headaches, back pain, chest pain, muscle aches and joint pain. Depression seems to be related to an imbalance of certain chemicals in your brain that play an important role in how you feel pain. Depression can also cause other physical changes in your body that slow down your digestion that can result in gastrointestinal problems. Other changes that depression can cause is sleeping problems, change in appetite or weight, and dizziness or lightheadedness, etc. These symptoms can occur with many conditions that many depressed people don't know that their physical symptoms might be caused by depression and never get help. As well a high percentage of people with depression who seek treatment only report physical symptoms, which can make depression very difficult to diagnose. I would recommend a visit with a primary care physician or psychiatrist if you have more concerns. When visited with your doctor, make sure to tell him or her about any physical symptoms that may need additional treatment. Some treatments used to ease your physical pain may help with your depression.
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