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A 24-year-old female asked:

do anxiety, stress, and depression really cause physical symptoms? i'm consistently fatigued, sleepy, and emotional. i have a really hard time staying awake at my desk job. i was diagnosed with pcos, hypoglycemic episodes, thalassemia minor, and costochon

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Deborah Ungerleider
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Yes, these can and: often do cause physical symptoms.It sounds like you have a few other medical problems, either in addition to, or causing your anxiety and depression. It may be hard to know what is causing what, so it's best to discuss all of this with your primary care doctor and/or your specialists and consider talking to a mental health professional as well. Try to stay positive and don't be afraid to get help.
Dr. David Lipkin
Internal Medicine 52 years experience
Yes: The mind(your brain) is in constant 2-way communication with the rest of your body via chemicals that travel thru the blood and via the nerves connected to the brain. Emotional imbalance(depression and anxiety) can affect the functioning of your organs and may cause physical symptoms including pain. Evidence suggests emotionally healthy people experience less illness and may live longer.
Dr. Judith Tellerman
Clinical Psychology 42 years experience
Anxiety: If your underlying illness is being treated and not causing these symptoms, then anxiety and depression can cause harm to your body leading to higher blood pressure, faster heart beat, shallower breathing,etc. It is recommended that you consult with a Clinical Psychologist for Psychotherapy and a Psychiatrist additionally for medication.

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Last updated Apr 4, 2020

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