The Physical Effects of Depression
Most depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance but most depression will result in a chemical imbalance. Although depressed people may seem lethargic, samples of their blood show a raised level of stress hormones such as cortisol and noradrenaline. This causes (and is caused by) over-arousal and agitation (anxiety is often a co-feature of depression) leading eventually to exhaustion and chronic fatigue. Depressed people often need to experience regular relaxation as part of their recovery.
In addition, appetite changes often accompany depression. Sufferers may eat much less than normal or much more. Likewise we may sleep less or more both of which could lead to other physical symptoms such as headaches or dizziness.
Sometimes a feature of depression is a morbid preoccupation with one’s health. Constantly monitoring for symptoms can, in some people, produce symptoms. Any physical symptoms should be thoroughly checked out medically however.
There is much more on how the psychological aspects of depression lead to the physical symptoms in the Depression Learning Path.
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