Can depression cause fever?

In this article we will discuss, if depression can cause a fever, how it happens, understand the difference between the symptoms of the flu and the symptoms of depression and how to get treated for it.

Can depression cause a fever?

Yes, it is possible that depression and stress, both can cause a fever. 

The majority of us are aware of the emotional signs and symptoms of depression. However, many people who suffer from depression also suffer from chronic pain or other physical problems.

These aren’t “all in your brain” situations. Depression can alter your physical appearance. It can, for example, impede your digestion, which might lead to stomach issues.

People with depression may never receive treatment for these symptoms because they occur with a variety of diseases. They are unaware that their mental condition may be causing their physical troubles. Many doctors miss them as well.

Depression is characterised by overwhelming emotions of hopelessness and a loss of interest in daily activities; the other symptoms might vary and even resemble the flu.

Both depression and the flu have physical symptoms such as exhaustion and changes in weight or appetite, and both illnesses can cause similar mental changes.

You must meet a precise set of criteria to be diagnosed with depression, which includes the aforementioned emotions of despair and loss of interest or pleasure.

It’s critical to get professional advice and diagnosis if you’re suffering symptoms of one or both disorders.

The next step is to get effective treatment for any sickness you’re suffering from so you can get back to living your life.

Depression and it’s physical symptoms 

According to the National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source, depression is one of the most common mental diseases in the United States, affecting over 16 million persons.

This mood disorder manifests itself in a variety of emotional symptoms, including chronic sorrow and a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities. Physical signs of depression might also occur.

Depression can make you feel ill, causing tiredness, headaches, and aches and pains. Depression is more than a case of the blues; it necessitates medical attention.

Although depression is primarily a mental disorder, it can also manifest physically. Depression can cause physical symptoms such as pain, stomach upset, exhaustion, and restlessness. 1 People can have these physical symptoms for a variety of reasons, but they may be unaware that depression is one of them.

Certain antidepressant treatments, such as medicine, can cause physical adverse effects such as nausea, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction

Your doctor and mental health care provider can help you better recognise and manage physical symptoms of depression.

Read more about depression as a systematic illness here.

The physical symptoms of depression  

Appetite or weight changes 

Depression might make someone feel compelled to eat more or less than they normally would. People who are sad may claim that they have lost weight without attempting or that they have gained weight without knowing why.

“Emotional eating,” which refers to a person using food to self-medicate emotions of depression, is one cause that may contribute to weight gain. These habits can lead to weight gain in the long run. Changes in self-image, accompanying health concerns, and weight stigma can all contribute to (or worsen) depression in those who are overweight or obese.

Psychomotor Changes 

Symptoms that make a person feel as if they are thinking and/or moving at a different rate than usual are referred to as “psychomotor.”

Some people with depression, for example, view their thoughts as sluggish and their movements as heavy. Others have symptoms that are on the other end of the range. They could complain that they “can’t sit still” or that they’re fidgety, restless, or irritated. They may have uneasy or even intrusive ideas in their heads. 

The immune system 

Stress can also cause a person’s immune system to malfunction, making them more susceptible to illness. When a person with a compromised immune system becomes ill, it may take them longer to recover. 

Some illnesses, such as the common cold, are not dangerous. A weakened immune system, on the other hand, puts a person at risk of acquiring infection-related problems or contracting a more difficult-to-treat infection. 

The link between immunological function and depression is still under investigation. Chronic stress, according to some research, may trigger an inflammatory response that alters the function of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Stomach problems

People who are depressed are more likely to experience stomach issues such as nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation.

Serotonin, a chemical found in the brain and gut, may be one cause for these symptoms. Although the brain chemical is linked to sadness because it is thought to help regulate mood, researchers have discovered that it also plays a role in digestive health.

Unexplained Pain 

People who are depressed may experience vague aches and pains in their joints, limbs, or back.  Some people suffer from “all over” bodily pain, which can be devastating and prolonged.

A person suffering from chronic pain may become sad, but it’s also possible that physical and emotional agony are caused by the same thing. Researchers are still trying to figure out how physical pain and depression are linked, as well as how they interact.

According to one view, persons who are depressed experience pain differently. According to a 2015 research on pain processing, those with significant depression have a lower pain threshold and tolerance than people who aren’t depressed.

What is a Psychogenic Fever?

Psychogenic fever is a stress-related psychosomatic disorder that affects young women in particular. When exposed to emotional events, some patients develop extremely high core body temperature  (up to 41°C), whilst others develop persistent low-grade high  (37–38°C) during prolonged stress circumstances.

The mechanism behind psychogenic fever is still unknown. Clinical case reports, on the other hand, show that psychogenic fever can be reduced not by antipyretic medications, but by psychotropic drugs with anxiolytic and sedative qualities, or by addressing patients’ problems naturally or through psychotherapy.

Psychological stress increases core body temperature  via mechanisms different from infectious fever (which requires proinflammatory mediators), and the sympathetic nervous system, particularly non-shivering thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue mediated by 3-adrenoceptors, plays an important role in the development of psychological stress-induced hyperthermia, according to animal studies.

The core body temperature increases in a brief, monophasic manner in response to acute psychological stress. Repeated stress, on the other hand, causes anticipatory hyperthermia, minimises diurnal temperature  fluctuations, or mildly raises it throughout the day. Chronically stressed animals had a stronger hyperthermic reaction to new stress, but frightened experiences in the past caused conditioned hyperthermia in the fear context.

Psychogenic fever patients’ high core body temperature could be the result of a combination of these hyperthermic responses.

Are your physical symptoms caused by a medical condition or depression?

For two weeks or longer, one must have intense emotions of despair, a loss of interest or pleasure, and at least three other symptoms (defined by the DSM) to be diagnosed with depression. 

However, the distinction between the flu and depression might be a bit hazy. In either situation, you’ll need to be treated properly. So, if you’re suffering any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to get a clear diagnosis.

It’s always preferable to leave determining the fundamental cause of something to the professionals. With a topic this sensitive and fragile, self-diagnosing and self-medicating could be a problem, therefore it’s best to seek help from a skilled professional. 

If you’re still on the fence about getting a depression test, here’s a list of signs that you should.

  • When others close to you express genuine concern for your mental health as a result of your lack of interest or irritability
  • When you’re unable to operate efficiently at work, outside, or at home because of your negative feelings,
  • When you are often experiencing a “empty” and deserted feeling due to a lack of sleep or proper nutrition
  • When you’re having suicidal or self-harming thoughts, it’s time to seek help.

Physical symptoms as a result of the side effects of medications

Side effects can occur with both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. While most are moderate and improve as the body responds to the medicine, others can be severe and last a long time.  Depression medications can have negative side effects, many of which are physical.

Some of them are :

  • Changes in appetite, weight gain/loss
  • Vision is hazy
  • Having trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Dizziness
  • Mouth is parched
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sexual dysfunction is a common problem (trouble maintaining an erection, pain with intercourse, inability to orgasm)

A person is less likely to continue taking a drug if the side effects are too tough to deal with. Antidepressant side effects might be a barrier to treatment for someone who takes medication to manage depression.

Antidepressant side effects can be substantial, and they may suggest that a medicine isn’t the best treatment for you. If your anxiety and depression worsens, or you have suicidal thoughts after starting an antidepressant, seek medical help right away.

Getting help.

Finding relief from depression’s physical symptoms may necessitate a combination of treatments. While certain antidepressants may help with physical symptoms like pain, other symptoms may need to be addressed independently.

When you go to the doctor with a medical issue, your doctor may not ask you about your emotional symptoms right away. However, without it, they won’t be able to effectively identify depression.

You’ll need an accurate diagnosis before you can start dealing with the physical repercussions of depression. Make sure to tell your doctor if you’re experiencing depression symptoms including chronic melancholy, poor mood, or a loss of interest in activities you used to love.

Your doctor will also need this information to determine the best effective treatment for depression, so be sure to tell them about your emotional, mental, and physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms can sometimes be relieved by treating your depression with therapy, medicine, or both. Depression medications “tweak” the molecules that your nerve cell networks use to communicate, allowing them to communicate more effectively. Antidepressants including duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), and older tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil) and desipramine (Norpramin) may also aid with chronic pain.

However, you can also require something else. For example, to help you relax and sleep better, your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety or sleep aid medication.

Because pain and depression are sometimes linked, relieving your pain may also help you feel better. You might want to consider cognitive behavioural treatment. It can educate you how to deal with discomfort more effectively.

Depression’s physical symptoms are real, and they can have a detrimental influence on your daily life and recovery.

While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment for depression, a combination of treatments can assist. Consult a physician about your options.

Read more depression and it’s treatment here 


Is fever a symptom of depression?

Fever, night sweats, exhaustion, sleeplessness, weight loss, and hand tremor are all examples of autonomic nervous system diseases that can be caused by depression. Previous studies have shown that anxious symptoms can produce a fever.

Can depression make your temperature go up?

Something appears to go awry in the thermoregulation process in sad persons, according to Raison. Depressed people, for example, have higher core body temperatures than healthy people yet don’t sweat as much as they need to cool down.

How does depression affect body temperature? 

People who are depressed, on the other hand, have an odd relationship with temperature. They have a less active thermoregulation mechanism in general. They have greater core body temperatures and are less able to sweat, which is one of our bodies’ primary means of temperature regulation.

Can anxiety cause a fever? 

The simple answer is that anxiety does not always result in fevers, although it can. Keep in mind that stress and anxiety can lead the immune system to malfunction, making it vulnerable to a variety of ailments.