(NewsUSA) - Tony, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., liked to consider himself a "macho guy." His wife, Maria, describes Tony as a happy-go-lucky person who "never sweats the small stuff."
However, says Maria, last year all that began to change when Tony began to develop a myriad of physical symptoms and his personality changed. He began to feel physically weak and unable to get up in the morning and go to work.
"I was a wreck. I had headaches. I felt nauseous. I was in a total fog," he says. "Most of all, I was scared that I was really very sick."
Tony feared that he was developing a serious family health problem: heart disease. This concern was exacerbated by an incident at work when Tony was rushed to an emergency room for complaints of severe chest pain. This event, and encouragement from his wife, led Tony to seek a medical evaluation from his family doctor.
After a series of tests and a medical work-up, Tony's doctor explained that there was no known medical reason for Tony's pain and lethargy. However, the doctor observed Tony as being tense and appearing depressed.
After talking to Tony about his mood and his loss of enjoyment for pleasurable activities, the doctor gave him a screening for depression. He concluded that Tony was depressed and needed treatment, after which he prescribed medication and referred Tony to a counselor.
Tony was compliant with his treatment plan. He began to look forward to his counseling sessions, which he says helped him in many ways, particularly in dealing with life's stressors.
"The majority of my patients who are depressed complain to me about physical symptoms before they begin to talk about their emotional state," says Dr. William Christiana, an internist in Belleville, N.J. "People do not realize that depression brings physical pain, as well as emotional pain. It is very important when visiting your doctor to share how you are feeling emotionally, as well as your physical state."
Depression affects more than 30 million Americans each year. It is a serious medical illness. Often, depression will manifest in individuals with unexplainable aches and pains.
There are many treatments available for depression, including a wide range of medications as well as many different types of talk therapies. These treatments often help to eliminate the physical as well as the emotional pain of depression. The first step is to seek help by visiting a doctor.