WebMD's Symptom Finder: Physical Symptoms of Depression - Chest
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat. These symptoms can be related to lung or heart problems, even serious ones like a heart attack. But they also can be symptoms of depression and anxiety, what doctors call "anxious depression." These chest pains can often be chronic in those suffering from depression, but may be felt suddenly in those suffering from anxiety. If you are having these symptoms, see a doctor right away to rule out serious heart or lung problems.
If your heart is fine, you may be suffering from another problem such as heartburn, depression, or anxiety.
Antidepressants, especially when combined with talk therapy, generally help
people recover from depression. Symptoms begin to improve within weeks for the
majority of people taking antidepressants. And people who take antidepressants
long-term -- up to 36 months -- have a relapse rate of only 18% compared to 40%
for those who do not.
But if they work so well, why do so many people stop taking antidepressants
within a few weeks of starting them? Or skip doses when they start to feel
There is a complex and close biological relationship between depression, anxiety, and the heart, research shows. Depression has been linked to heart disease. When you are under stress or having a panic attack, the body releases stress hormones like cortisol as part of our natural "fight or flight" response. These hormones can trigger physical symptoms like chest pain and a rapid heartbeat that may feel like a heart attack.
Could your chest pain and rapid heartbeat be related to depression? One way to find out is to keep a symptom diary. Print out this symptom diary, and fill it out. Then take it to your doctor to discuss what may be causing your symptoms.
David Baron, MSEd, DO, chairman of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine.
WebMD Medical Reference: "Heart Disease Symptoms."
WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding Back Pain."
WebMD Medical Reference : "An Overview of Arthritis."
Body illustration created exclusively for WebMD by Andy Matlock