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Q&A: Can mental illness like depression cause bodily pain?

November 17th, 2013

Query by Zootles: Can mental sickness like depression result in physical discomfort?

Greatest reply:

Solution by Elizabeth
Totally. Physical ache is a symptom of depression. It can be so bad you can’t get out of bed.

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  1. cosmicbaby
    November 18th, 2013 at 00:04 | #1

    Not too sure if you’re asking for yourself or just in general. So, sorry it’s so long!
    But I’ve have depression/anxiety and am on antidepressants to treat it. Aches and pains are a symptom of depression for some. There are antidepressants that treat the physical pains as well as the emotional aspects. I personally did have aches, and my regular antidepressant wasn’t working as well as hoped, so my doctor prescribed Cymbalta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcn3JF9YRcw), because it can be added to your other antidepressant to treat the physical aches (and to help when the antidepressant alone isn’t working).

    So basically yes, depression can cause physical pain (is ‘somatic pain’ caused more psychologically, you feel the pain but there is no medical reason for it). If you’re asking about mental illnesses in general, yes, some can physical pain. Somatoform disorders (ie, Somatization Disorder, Conversion Disorder, and Pain Disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by physical symptoms that suggest physical illness or injury – symptoms that cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition, direct effect of a substance, or attributable to another mental disorder. Schizophrenia can also cause somatic pain with no medical explanations. Sexual pain disorders (is actually a mental illness) also causes somatic pain.

    “Pain” isn’t limited to aches and pains in the body and can also inlcude fatigue (which is severe, not just tired from a long day), headahces, abdominal distress, etc. Which are symptoms of many mentall illnesses.

    In terms of “true”pain that can be explained, there are mentall illnesses such as bulimia. Bulimics can pull a muscle in the back used for throwing up, as well as strain others from bending over to purge. Also, throat pain from the stomach acid. Along with fatigue, and many other physical symtoms. Another examle would be the substance abuse disorders, where there are withdrawl pains, organ damage, seizures, overdose effects (chest pain, struggled breathing, etc.)

    To sum up, many mental illness (including depression) can cause either true physical pain, or somatic physical pain.

  2. Winterlain
    November 18th, 2013 at 00:45 | #2

    Yes. I actually used to get jolts of pain in random places of my body when I was really depressed. It used to scare me. I then read that people with depression/anxiety can get these jolts of pain.

    They are muscle spasms. Depression can cause you to be tense without realizing it and cause your body to physically make stabbing pains at random parts of your body.

    The weird thing is, once I found this out, it never happened again. So it was mental stress causing real physical pain which went away once I knew I was doing that to myself.

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