Always tired? Maybe you are depressed For some time now I have experienced constant fatigue. It seems that no matter now much sleep I get, I still feel tired. My doctor ran tests for anemia and thyroid problems and told me everything is normal. However, I still feel sluggish and lack energy.
What else could be wrong?
Fatigue, one of the most common problems for which people see a physician, has a multitude of causes. Other physical illnesses like diabetes, hepatitis, heart disease, kidney disease, and lung problems need to be considered; however, you may be surprised to learn that one of the most common causes of fatigue is depression.
Consider a Diagnosis
Consider a diagnosis of depression if you persistently have any of these symptoms, especially if other causes have been investigated and eliminated.
Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
Difficulty sleeping and/or unrefreshing sleep
Loss or increased appetite
Weight gain or loss
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Upset stomach, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, constipation
ny unexplained pain, especially in the chest, abdomen, back, or joints
Change in desire for or enjoyment of sex
About 20 million people in the United States suffer from depression and about 10 million do not realize they have it. You could be one of these. A diagnosis of depression may seem obvious if you experience any of these symptoms:
Feeling sad or down in the dumps
Frequent crying, especially for no apparent reason
Feeling worried or anxious
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Wanting to die, or contemplating suicide
However, unexplained fatigue and other physical symptoms may also indicate depression. Doctors have learned that many depressed people exhibit bodily symptoms that neither they nor their patients recognize as being caused from depression. We are not sure why depression causes physical symptoms, but it likely has to do with chemical reactions in the brain that change perception of pain and other physical sensations, in addition to the effect on mood. A mental health professional or physician can determine whether your symptoms are due to depression. You may be asked to complete a questionnaire about your symptoms to see if they meet the criteria for depression. If conclusive, then treatment with an antidepressant medication may be recommended. Antidepressants work by increasing the chemicals in the brain that control mood. Behavioral therapy and counseling are also effective. Fortunately, the physical symptoms of depression respond just as readily to treatment as do the mental symptoms.
"Always tired? Maybe you are depressed" authored by:
Dr. Aletha Oglesby practices family medicine at the Utica Park Clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has an interest in international health issues and has traveled overseas on numerous humanitarian medical trips....