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Can Depression And Anxiety Cause Physical Pain

Does Pain Cause Depression Or Does Depression Cause Pain

Doctor explains: Surprising physical symptoms of anxiety and depression

Our Health Psychologists who treat patients with various pain conditions know that people with chronic pain often experience anxiety and depressive symptoms. In the review article by Jiyao Sheng and Yicun Wang, expert depression researchers noted that up to 85% of patients with chronic pain are affected by severe depression. The link between Depression and Chronic Pain: Neural Mechanisms in the Brain, published June 19, 2017, discusses that one of the most common and disabling mental disorders, depression is identified as the third leading contributor to the global disease burden.

You Seem Prone To Catching Colds

Some people tend to get sick more often in periods of high anxiety, says Dr. Potter. Your immune system doesnt function as well when your fight-or-flight response is operating for too long, according to the Mayo Clinic. This could mean that youre more susceptible to issues such as the common cold, although a lot of other factors come into play here as well, like how robust your immune system is in general and how vigilant you are about hand hygiene.

Physical Symptoms Associated With Stress And Emotions

There can be short-term and moderate pain, but in some situations, there can even be severe and chronic pain.

Some specific events or stressors can make any person upset or anxious. The example in this regard is of the death in the family or because of job loss.

Such situations can release cortisolin your body, causing significant inflammation, increasing heart rate, and constrict blood vessels. Thus, these changes in your body can cause an extreme level of pain.

Furthermore, when any person experiences difficult emotional times, stress can indeed make the immune system weak. As a result, you can become more susceptible to colds, flu, and other kinds of infections.

Tip: Did you know that you shouldnt use Hydrogen Peroxide on infected wounds?

Stress can even make you eat a lot or drink too much and skip on your regular exercises.

Below is the list of some common physical symptoms related to stress:

  • Stomach pain
  • Rapid level of breathing

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Gain Help For Painful Depression

If you are experiencing higher levels of emotional pain like sadness and depression, whatever the cause, seek help. Waiting until your symptoms worsen only leaves you miserable. You can gain the right treatment and start enjoying life more. for individuals with a medical condition that produces side effects of mood disorders, clinical depression, or major depression, do reach out and speak to someone qualified.

Call 763-577-2484 and request your Pain Depression Consultation with a Health Psychologist

Shelly L. Curran PhD, LP has nationally published research and lectures on mind and body factors that are commonly associated with: facial pain, headaches, chronic pain, fatigue and cancer. She is available for services at the MN Head and Neck Pain Clinic.

Is My Pain Real Or Is It Anxiety

Depression vs Anxiety

Neural mechanisms exist in our human brains that link depression and chronic pain.

Questions such as is my pain physical vs all in my head or due to depression etc., have shifted. What we now know is that the mechanisms in our body that are involved with how we experience pain largely overlap with the systems of depression and anxiety.

It is widely known that patients seeking treatment for depression often experience real pain. According to Lepine and Briley, over 75% of depressed patients in primary care complain of painful physical symptoms such as headache, stomach pain, neck and back pain as well as non-specific generalized pain.

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The Physical Response Of Depression

As a mood disorder, depression can have a powerful, negative effect on how you feel, what you think, and the way you behave. People living with depression often find that it interferes with their ability to perform tasks and get through their normal daily routine.

Although researchers havent uncovered any single underlying cause of depression, they do know that brain chemistry, hormonal imbalances, and genetic factors are often involved.

While researchers still have much to learn about the biology of depression, they do know that an untreated depressive disorder can take a major toll on your personal life as well as your physical health.

Untreated depressive disorders are associated with:

Why Does Anxiety Cause Physical Symptoms

Whether youre dealing with anxiousness or a diagnosable anxiety disorder, it can manifest in your body in multiple ways. From head to toe, almost every system can be impacted just by nature of your body releasing a lot of stress hormones, Mona Potter, M.D., medical director at McLean Anxiety Mastery Program in Boston, tells SELF. But why does it happen?

Well, you have your fight-or-flight response to thank for your physical anxiety symptoms. Typically, its supposed to help you survive a threat by escaping or fending it off. In way-back-then cave-people days, that threat might have been something along the lines of a lion. If you have anxiety, though, your fear and worry are that threat, prompting your sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary processes like your breathing and heart rate, to kick into high gear. This leads your adrenal glands to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, according to the Mayo Clinic. This domino effect is behind anxietys physical symptoms.

When a person experiences anxiety, its essentially the fight-or-flight system kicking in and saying, Danger! Neda Gould, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Anxiety Disorders Clinic, tells SELF.

So what are the physical symptoms of anxiety to look out for?

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Symptom #3 Funny Tummy

Ever totally lost your appetite, felt queasy, or had a churning stomach when you felt anxious or were going through a tough time? A persons digestive system is incredibly sensitive to emotions.

For those with depression, stomach and digestive issues are often an ongoing concern, especially in kids and teenagers.

Nausea, diarrhoea and constipation can all be symptoms and studies have shown up to 60% of people with irritable bowel syndrome have a mental illness such as depression or anxiety.

What Is The Impact Of The Freeze Response On My Pain And Depression

Depression symptoms can be subtle

When our body is in the freeze response it is shut down. We are so overwhelmed that our body becomes immobile, no energy, feeling stuck or trapped. We often feel alone and isolated from others. Engaging in day-to-day tasks in our lives feels impossible. Participation in pain management can be difficult with no energy for self-care pain management tools such as physical therapy or exercise.

We can feel hopeless about the possibility of the pain getting any better. Daily tasks such as taking a shower or making meals can be painful, exhausting, and overwhelming. It is important to recognize if our bodies are stuck in this kind of response to pain and stress when seeking treatment. Working with an interdisciplinary team to address these issues can help prevent feeling overwhelmed and hopeless when seeking treatment for pain.

Read Also: How To Tell If Your Having An Anxiety Attack

Your Throat Feels Tight

You might even have trouble swallowing. Anxiety can cause some people to feel tightness in their throat or even like something is stuck in there, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This is called globus sensation, and although the exact reason why this happens is unclear, it can definitely make anxiety even worse. You feel like you cant get enough air, says Dr. Potter.

Physical Symptoms You Didnt Realise Depression Could Cause

Many people dont realise that depression can have a very real affect on your whole body – not just your mind.

Most people will agree that depression can cause emotional symptoms feeling sad, low, down, numb But what many dont realise is that depression can have a very real effect on your body as a whole.

We are taking a look at seven common but surprising physical symptoms of depression.

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Other Conditions Or Medications

Several other conditions and medications can cause a low mood, along with physical symptoms that could seem similar to those of depression. Some examples include:

How To Stop These Pains

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Most of these aches and pains are treatable with the very same treatments you would use if you had these problems in the absence anxiety. For example, over the counter painkillers are a popular treatment and appropriate stretching or exercise may reduce some of the discomforts. Furthermore, by taking steps to treat the underlying anxiety, rather than simply the pain that you feel, youre more likely to be able to avoid aches and pains happening in the first place.

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Also Check: Why Is My Anxiety Worse At Night

The Relationship Between Chronic Pain And Anxiety

Mental health challenges often accompany the physical symptoms of chronic pain. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health challenges associated with chronic pain. Recent studies suggest that between 35% and 60% of people with chronic pain may also have an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

The relationship between chronic pain and anxiety is often cyclical. Increased chronic pain levels tend to worsen anxiety, and anxiety often leads to more frequent or severe pain.

The effect of chronic pain on anxiety

It is common to experience stress when chronic pain is an issue. Worries about what is causing the pain, how long it will last, and how it will affect the present and future may develop. Over time, this stress can lead to feelings of anxiety or even an anxiety disorder.

Also, chronic pain causes changes in parts of the brain that process emotions. These changes make it more difficult to control emotions, including anxiety.

The effect of anxiety on chronic pain

Anxiety can increase chronic pain in a few ways. First, stress causes chemical changes in the brain that can lower the bodys pain threshold, which means that stress can actually worsen the sensation of pain.

Second, excessive anxiety about pain levels may lead to a decrease in movement and activity. This causes muscle weakening and other physical deconditioning, which often increases pain.

Bottom line

Making The Diagnosis Of Depression In A Painful Physical Symptom Presentation

Although depressed mood or loss of interest in usual activities are necessary elements in the diagnosis of a major depressive disorder, physical symptoms are also included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual syndromic definition. Physical symptoms in the critieria set include fatigue, loss of energy, appetite changes with weight change, insomnia, and observable psychomotor retardation or agitation. Associated features in the DSM include pain complaints such as headaches, joint or other pain complaints, and excessive worry over physical health status . Naturalistic studies of patients with affective disorders find prevalence rates of painful symptoms that vary from 40% to 100%. Seventy-five percent of patients hospitalized for depression reported clinically significant, painful physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pain, back pain, and vague, poorly localized discomfort .

Recommended Reading: How To Manage Depression And Anxiety

Fatigue Or Lack Of Energy

When you have anxiety, you may worry incessantly, which can be exhausting. But the fatigue you feel may also be related to sleep troubles. Anxious thoughts may make it difficult to fall asleep or may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night when worries start spinning in your mind. Research in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience shows that about 75% of people with depression also have insomnia, and other scientific evidence reveals that over half of the people with anxiety have trouble sleeping. A smaller percentage of people with depression sleep more than usual, but still feel daytime sleepiness. If you arent sleeping well, get an evaluation before taking sleeping pills, which may be hard to stop.

Whats The Worst Type Of Anxiety

What Causes #Depression? Could it be a Symptom of Another Condition?

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.

It can require time to obtain a right diagnosis as well as discover an ideal therapy, as people react in a different way, as well as signs differ commonly can depression anxiety cause physical pain. If the individual has psychosis, a medical professional may misdiagnose their problem as schizophrenia. Bipolar II condition entails durations of hypomania, yet depression is often the leading state.

Recommended Reading: How To Know Of You Have Anxiety

What Can I Do Right Now

All people living with chronic pain need emotional support. Here are some ways you can connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles:

Join a support group. It can help to join support groups and meet others who are living the same experience as you are. Start here:

Find the right doctor. Find a good medical specialist and/or a pain psychologist, depending on your specific symptoms.

The American Psychological Association has a Psychologist Locator tool to help you find a mental health provider in your area, including ones who specialize in areas like chronic illness and pain management.

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine has helpful information on what exactly pain management specialists do and what you can expect from your visits withthis type of expert.

Get ready for doctor visits. Put together a timeline for your condition and write down your answers to these questions:

When did the pain and the anxiety or depression start?

Were there any accidents or events that happened at this time?

What activities contribute to the pain, and what makes you feel better?

Advocacy can be empowering.You can volunteer, raise awareness, or participate in a clinical trial. Start here:

The Arthritis Foundation has ways that you can advocate for arthritis issues that are important to you, as well as volunteer opportunities too.

Your Sleep Is All Screwed Up

A person with anxiety might have a tough time falling asleep and/or staying asleep, or might have restless and unsatisfying sleep, according to the NIMH. Elevated levels of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline make it hard to get a good nights sleep, since your buzzing body may not be able to relax enough to rest. The racing thoughts that can come with anxiety are no recipe for great sleep, either.

Its not just that anxiety contributes to sleep problems. Sleep issues such as insomnia can make you more prone to anxiety too, the Mayo Clinic explains. What a great cycle.

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When Treating Depression Is Critical To Protect Someones Mental Health

Clinical depression and major depression are serious medical conditions and may have critical side effects. This is when a person not only can feel sadness but find it too hard to climb out of. Mood disorders, mental illness, and suicidal ideation need to be identified and treated even if it may seem unnecessary to prevent suicide at the moment.

If you know of someone who has made a suicide attempt and needs help, tell them about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. It is better to be safe than sorry, as they say. Call even if you suspect a pending suicide attempt.

The MHNPC has an interdisciplinary team of pain specialists in Health Psychology, Medicine, Orofacial Pain, and Physical Therapy. We offer a professional mind and body approach to pain management and an emphasis on integrated self-care management strategies. Our MHNPC Health Psychologists help patients identify and address potential psychophysiological factors of pain and distress through self-regulation strategies including relaxation training, hypnosis, and talk therapy.

Telemedicine healthcare services are a safe and convenient way to connect and are available here at MHNPC.

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