Depression: Physical Pain and Diagnosis
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Depression symptoms and diagnoses continue to increase, and Healthline estimates that 1 in every 10 people are directly impacted by some form of depression at some point in their lives. The cause of depression can range from loss of love, medical problems, financial challenges, job-loss, and many others. Depression is not simply a state of mind divorced from the body - Physical symptoms are often present when once is diagnosed with this condition.
Healthline explains that pain and depression can go hand-in-hand, where depression may cause pain, and pain can also cause depression. Antidepressants, such as Cymbalta, Effexor, and older tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil or Norpramin, have been used specifically for chronic pain associated with depression, and cognitive behavioral therapy can be used in order to better cope with the pain as well.
Web MD's Physical Symptoms List:
Although physical pain is not currently listed in the DSM 5's symptom checklist, the existence of physical pain in conjunction with depression is becoming increasingly recognized within the psychological and psychiatric research community.
- Kim B.
Ten years ago, I suffered an injury to my back, and it was severe enough that it required me to have surgery. Following the surgery, I had six months of recovery and physical therapy to try and overcome the damage. It was moderately successful.
The surgical repairs brought immediate relief to my pain. The rest period, that followed the surgery, brought healing to the incision and surgical sight on my body. The physical therapy helped me to rebuild strength and stamina that was lost through the injury and the medical procedures. However, following months of recovery and therapy, I was still not the physical person that I was before the injury. The doctors, nurses, physical therapists just couldn’t put ‘Humpty Dumpty’ back together like he was before.
I was diagnosed as being 30% disabled and could no longer perform many of the functions that I once considered mundane and casually performed with seemingly little to no effort. I could not bend to pick up things that I would drop. At first, I could not bend to tie my shoes. The assumed little things of life had now become the really big things.
There were the daily necessities that I seemed to need assistance with. I came to grips with my disability when I could not safely and comfortably pick up my toddler without fear of injuring her or myself. Adding insult to my injury, my employer terminated my tenure since I could no longer physically perform to the standards they required.
My depression set in as I realized the life, as I knew it, the life I had taken for granted, for so long, would never be the same again. I developed insomnia. I had body-weight fluctuations. I was plunged deep into feeling sorry for myself. I felt like less of a person.
I believe that, for a man especially, so much of their identity is wrapped up in their occupation or career. Often I discover that because of my physical limitations, the mundane things now overwhelm me, even though my brain functions very well. I can as easily pull the blankets back over my head in the morning as if I climb out from under them. I choose daily to not let my pain fuel my depression. I must get out of bed and make it, to remove the temptation of crawling back in. I shower and dress rather than let myself go. I would find it easy to become a hermit and Agoraphobic. When I make the choice and strive to be more than what I think I am I find that my pain is suppressed to the point of tolerance. The physical exertions are less noticeable and make me feel more alive than before my injury.
I choose to live my life rather than to be a spectator. I hope you will as well.
Web MD Depression: Recognizing the Physical Symptoms (http://www.webmd.com/depression/physical-symptoms)
DSM-V, American Psychiatric Association
National Institutes of Mental Health