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People of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds can be affected by depression, a prevalent mental health problem. And it can cause physical symptoms like sickness, according to Depression Open Talks.

While hopelessness and sadness are the most typical emotional signs of depression, some people also experience physical signs like feeling ill. For many people, these physical problems create difficulties in their everyday lives and can be just as incapacitating as symptoms connected to mood.

This article addresses the topic, “Can depression make you sick?” and examines further physical signs of depression, their management, and some potential natural treatments.


1. Depression

Depression is a mood illness characterized by persistent melancholy, sadness, or gloom. The keyword here is “recurring”, to qualify as depressed, you must experience these feelings regularly for at least a few weeks.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may only affect you during the chilly winter months while major depression (MD) is not tied to specific seasons or events. So, different types of depression have varied patterns.

2. How can depression make you sick?

In what way can depression make you sick? Following are a few health problems that might result from depression:

2.1. Pain

Depression frequently is accompanied by unexplained aches and pains, such as headaches, back discomfort, joint pain, and muscular pain. These pains can be modest or severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to operate. Depression and pain are thought to be related because they utilize similar brain chemicals and nerve pathways.

According to certain studies, the severity of depression increases with the severity of the physical pain sensations. A 2015 small study involving 54 participants discovered that those with major depressive disorder had lower pain thresholds and pain tolerance levels than those in healthy conditions.

According to a larger 2017 study, those who experience depression have a 60% higher lifetime of experiencing back pain than those who do not. Chronic low back pain has also been demonstrated to raise the probability of developing depressive symptoms, in addition to depression raising the incidence of back pain.

2.2. Sleep disturbance

Sleep problems are typical signs of depression. This can include having problems falling or staying asleep, as well as having unproductive or unrefreshing sleep. There is strong evidence between sleep problems and depression. In addition to increasing the risk of depression, sleeplessness can contribute to or worsen depression.

Other symptoms of depression, such as stress and worry, headaches, and a compromised immune system, are made worse by sleep loss.

2.3. Weight fluctuations

Maintaining a healthy weight might be challenging for those who suffer from depression. People with depression also appear to be more prone to obesity. Older Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that 43% of adults with depression also had obesity.

Since depression increases the likelihood of obesity and vice versa, experts are still unsure of the precise connection between depression and weight fluctuations. Antidepressant use, according to medical professionals, may result in weight gain. Conversely, some people with depression could lose weight as a result of a decrease in appetite.

2.4. Immune system dysfunction issues

An individual’s likelihood of experiencing immune system issues can rise in the presence of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric diseases. According to evidence, stress and depression weaken the immune system and cause low-grade chronic inflammation. This can raise a person’s risk of infections, cancer, metabolic diseases, and other illnesses.

Additionally, depression risk is higher in those with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.

2.5. Reduced Sex Drive

Some individuals with depression entirely lose their desire for sex, although the majority of people have changes in their sex drive. This may be brought on by the low energy that depressives depression or by a lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities.

Discussing sexual dysfunction with a healthcare professional might be challenging or uncomfortable if you are going through a serious decline in sexual desire that harms you or a partner.

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3. Treatment

Now you know how can depression make you sick; let’s find possible treatment methods. It could take more than one sort of treatment to get rid of the physical signs of depression. While some antidepressants may also reduce your physical symptoms, such as pain, other problems can necessitate a different course of treatment.

Treatment options include:

3.1. The use of antidepressants

Depression is treated with antidepressants. Antidepressants are thought to function by resolving mood-related chemical imbalances in the brain.

They might alleviate bodily symptoms brought on by concomitant chemical impulses in the brain. Some antidepressants may also aid with sleeplessness, poor appetite, discomfort, and headaches.

3.2. Behavioral treatment

It has been demonstrated that behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and others are effective in treating pain and mood disorders. Chronic insomnia can also be effectively treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.

3.3. Stress reduction

Exercise, massage, yoga, and meditation are methods to lower stress and aid with the physical and emotional signs of depression.

3.4. Other methods

Painkillers sold over-the-counter (OTC) may be used to treat headaches, joint and muscle pain, and migraines. Low back pain, as well as stiff neck and shoulder muscles, may be relieved by muscle relaxants.

In the short term, anxiety medication may be recommended. These medicines not only ease anxiety but also ease muscle tension and promote sleep.

According to research, animal therapy helps ease the signs of anxiety and depression. Examples include equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), which uses caring for and riding horses to help people improve their moods and alter harmful behaviors.

Some research suggests that this horse-based therapy may reduce the symptoms of depression and other psychiatric conditions, notwithstanding the paucity of robust scientific data in this area.

Conclusion: Can depression make you sick?

A mental health disorder called depression is marked by melancholy and low mood or energy. Depression is linked to physical symptoms like exhaustion, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep issues in addition to psychological ones. People suffering from physical symptoms should talk to their doctor about it. Call 911 if you or a loved one is in urgent danger.


Jones, H. (2022, February 28). Can Depression Make You Sick? 8 Physical Symptoms. Verywell Health. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-depression-make-you-physically-sick-5215199

Legg, T. J. (2019, January 17). Can Depression Make You Sick, Physically? Symptoms and Seeking Help. Healthline. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/can-depression-make-you-sick

Taft, T., & Legg, T. J. (2022, January 30). Can depression make you sick? Medical News Today. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-depression-make-you-sick

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