Stress Management > Depression > Diagnosis > How depression affects the body

How depression affects the body

Symptoms of depression

Depression is marked by a number of physical symptoms including; changes in mood, decreased energy and enthusiasm levels, appetite and weight changes, concentration problems, aches and pains that seem to arise without a cause and changes in sleeping patterns.

Psychomotor impairment

Psychomotor impairments, also known as Psychomotor Retardation, is the name given to the symptoms of depression denoted by general slowing of physical and mental reactions. Psychomotor impairments can include speech difficulties, problems completing everyday tasks such as cleaning teeth, taking a shower or cooking a meal. Psychomotor impairments associated with depression also include difficulties completing mental demands such as making decisions and focusing on a task. These symptoms characterise depression if they were not previously experienced or problematic.

Weight changes

People suffering from depression often report a distinct change in weight, appetite and eating patterns. A depressed individual may not be inclined to eat or may find comfort in food and subsequently over eat. Weight loss or gain without specifically trying to is thought to be a symptom of depression.

Sleep problems

Changes in sleeping patterns is frequently reported in people with depression. Insomnia is a common problem because people are unable to control their thoughts and emotions and are subsequently unable to relax and get to sleep. Additionally, sleep is ofter reported to be interrupted and restless.

Alternatively, hypersomnia is sometimes reported in some individuals, this is when a person feels overly fatigued throughout the day and despite sleeping do not wake up feeling rested and alert.

Sleep is a crucial part of human life, not being properlly rested can result in a number of health problems. In depressed individuals a lack of sleep is also associated with loss of energy, concetration problems and unexplained aches and pains.