Depression And Physical Ailments

Depression frequently accompanies physical illness, esp thyroid and hormonal disorders, which may affect brain chemistry resulting in depression.Depression frequently goes hand-in-hand with physical illness. Particularly noteworthy are thyroid or other hormonal disorders, which appear to affect brain chemistry and bring about depression. For newly diagnosed patients, most doctors will order blood tests to rule out thyroid problems, simply because this is so common.

Another known cause of depressive symptoms is chemotherapy (depression in cancer patients). The reasons for this aren't clear. It's possible that the chemotherapy medications themselves bring them about (either by directly affecting brain chemistry, or indirectly by disturbing hormone balance, or causing fatigue and generally draining the body), but just as likely is that the length and severity of treatment create feelings of despair and anguish, which become depression.

Similarly, depression often accompanies chronic pain, because of long, exhaustive and ultimately ineffective treatments. And quite understandably, many of the terminally ill experience depression, for reasons which are obvious.

Finally, it's worth noting that anyone who already has clinical depression, may have this condition aggravated by the onset of a physical illness. Even something as minor as a cold or the flu can make a depressed person feel worse about themselves and worsen their depression.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 4). Depression And Physical Ailments, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: June 20, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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