Monday, June 6, 2011

What kind of Physical Problems can "mimic" Depression and Anxiety?

People who have depression often do not present to the Doctor with "Depression".  They often presents with tiredness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and just feeling "sick".

It is important for your Doctor to take a thorough history and do some investigations to rule out any physical problems that may cause these same symptoms.

Things to rule out are:

1 Anaemia ie low blood
2 Iron deficiency especially in women with heavy periods
3 B12 or folate deficiency in people do not eat a lot of meat or has Pernicious Anaemia.  B12 and folate are important in nerve function.
4 Low cortisol in Addison's Disease (rare but can be very dangerous)
5 Neurological Disease like stroke, MS, or even a brain tumour.
6 Hypothyroidism ie low in thyroid.  This can cause weight gain, tiredness and exacerbate Depression
7 Hyperthyroidism ie high in thyroid.  This can cause weight loss, tremors and exacerbate Anxiety and Depression
8 Systemic diseases like renal failure, liver problems, autoimmune disease or Diabetes
9 Low Testestorone in men can make them feel tired and exacerbate Depression
10 Sleep apnea can make you feel very tired and exacerbate Depression and Anxiety.  It is often underdiagnosed.  To rule this out, speak to your Doctor about having a sleep study test.  The main symptoms here is daytime sleepiness and snoring.

I encourage you to speak to your Doctor early if you have the above symptoms.

Please share with us your story where a physical problem has exacerbate or cause an emotional problem.

Dr Vin

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