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Video: Is Depression Physically Painful?

In this video, Gabe Howard answers the question “is depression physically painful?” He also invites you to share your thoughts in the comments sections below.

General Transcript “Is Depression Physically Painful?” Video

4 Things That Hurt Your Thinking & Keep You StuckMy name is Gabe Howard and I’m here today to talk about the physical symptoms of depression.

People are surprised to learn – and in fairness I often forget – that depression is physically painful. I’m not speaking in analogies, either. Depression literally hurts.

Anyone who has experienced depression already understands this, but for the rest of you, I will explain.

Emotions – all emotions – have physical sensations. Folks experiencing joy often laugh and the term “belly laugh” isn’t just something people say; it’s a literal description. People experiencing extreme sadness often cry. Finally, being nervous can lead to butterflies taking up residence in your stomach.

Depression is serious and, unlike the common mythology, it’s far from all in someone’s head. During a depressive episode, a person’s body becomes heavy and movement very difficult. I’ve described it as running in concrete shoes, except no one can see the shoes.

Aside from extreme lethargy, other side effects of depression can include insomnia or excess sleeping. Both are equally disruptive to a person’s physical health. Depression’s primary symptom slows down peoples’ thinking and makes them believe they are worthless. Those in this state often make poor decisions when it comes to eating, hygiene, and general self-care.

While not technically a symptom of depression, attempting to exist on a diet of cupcakes, chips, and soda isn’t a healthy choice and carries with it unpleasant physical consequences.

For a moment, ignore all the examples above and consider this: Depression makes a person feel alone and worthless. In many cases it, causes someone to consider that suicide is a reasonable decision.

That kind of emotional turmoil doesn’t just exist inside a person’s mind. It radiates through the entire body. I, personally, have been awake for over 48 hours crying, lying in my own sweat and drool, and literally dripping snot all over myself.

With my throat sore, my head pounding, and my vision blurry, I’ve cried out for people who never answered and have experienced emotional trauma so devastating that it can no longer be described as a feeling, but as a lack of feeling altogether.

To think that kind of mental anguish doesn’t have a physical consequence isn’t reasonable. Depression is an entire body disorder and it’s far from all in someone’s head.

Disclaimer: Mr. Howard is the host of The Psych Central Show podcast but not a medical professional. Any information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. The Psych Central Show can be found at

Video: Is Depression Physically Painful?

Gabe Howard

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations, available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author. To learn more about Gabe, please visit his website,

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APA Reference
Howard, G. (2018). Video: Is Depression Physically Painful?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 15 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.