There’s increasing evidence that depression involves multiple body systems, not just the brain/mind; here’s more:
#1 It can be a vicious cycle
Because depression and pain are so closely tied together it can cause a vicious cycle: depression can cause pain—and pain can cause depression, according to Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, MD at Mayo Clinic. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain. Pain and the problems it causes can wear you down over time and affect your mood.
#2 It may be the only sign of depression
Hall-Flavin said in many people, depression causes unexplained physical symptoms like headaches and back pain, which can be the first or the only sign of depression. Chronic pain causes a number of problems that can lead to depression, such as trouble sleeping and stress. Disabling pain can cause low self-esteem due to work, legal or financial issues.
#3 It’s actually quite common
Experts have discovered a relationship between depression and the digestive system, the cardiovascular and immune systems and metabolic system. However, it is the manifestation of physical pain that is most pervasive. In fact, perhaps up to half of people with depression, pain is the way depression presents itself.
#4 Neural pathways are interrelated
Yves De Koninck, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Université Laval in Quebec, explains that the neural pathways of chronic pain and depression are interrelated in the brain. “Changes in the mid-brain occur after many years of pain,” he says. De Koninck’s research focuses on the loss of protein in nerve cells that normally inhibit pain. Other scientists are exploring different avenues toward the goal of addressing both chronic pain and depression.
#5 A malfunctioning of the pain pathways
Associating pain with depression is not new, but the common thought was that people were converting their emotional disorder into bodily pain, wrote Hara Estroff Marano for Psychology Today. “The new view is that somatic complaints are the way some people get depressed. There is actually something malfunctioning in their pain perception pathways.
#6 The pain can take multiple forms
The painful physical symptoms of depression typically take the form of multiple somatic complaints, said Marano. “The pain is often vague and unexplained by injury. It may show up as headache, abdominal pain, or musculoskeletal pains in the lower back, joints and neck—alone or in any combination.”
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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