WebMD's Symptom Finder: Physical Symptoms of Depression - Head / Neck
Headaches, neck aches, dizziness. These problems have many causes, including stress, tension, and medical conditions. They also can be physical symptoms of depression. If you are prone to headaches, they may get worse when you're depressed. Depression has a way of magnifying pain, because you're more focused on negative things — a hallmark of depression.
NOTE: If your headache is the worst one you've ever experienced or it is associated with vomiting, fever, stiff neck, visual changes or other symptoms, see a health care provider right away.
Millions of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can improve a wide variety of these conditions and, as a result, are commonly prescribed. SSRIs work by blocking a receptor in the brain that absorbs the chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known to influence mood, but the exact way SSRIs improve depression isn't clear.
Commonly prescribed SSRIs include:
Insomnia is also common among depressed people and can be debilitating. It can rob the body of energy, causing fatigue, slowing the body down, making every day a struggle. If you have stress in your life — you're in the middle of a breakup, or have a loved one who is ill — the stress can have a physical impact. Stress and depression can lead to both insomnia and fatigue. Excessive sleeping can also be a symptom of depression.
Keeping a symptom diary can help you identify patterns and understand what may be triggering your symptoms. 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.
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Body illustration created exclusively for WebMD by Andy Matlock