Pay attention to your diagnosis: Some diseases can imitate depression

By | February 6, 2019

You’re so weak you don’t even want to move your arms, you want to sleep all the time, you have difficulty doing your job and you no longer feel excited about the things you used to enjoy. You probably think this is caused by depression, however, the cause of your complaints may actually be physical diseases, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes.A psychiatrist at the Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital, Dr. Çağatay Karşıdağ, warned that physical illnesses can be overlooked when they occur with the symptoms of depression. He listed the most common illnesses that are sometimes mistaken for depression.

Cardiovascular diseases

The leading symptoms of cardiovascular disease include tiredness, fatigue, unwillingness, being unable to work, sleep problems, sexual anorexia, palpitations and shortness of breath, as well as panic disorders. These can seem like depression but they can also be signs of cardiovascular disease.


Fluctuations in blood sugar and irregular nutrition and plenty of urination can sometimes show themselves because of symptoms like chronic anxiety or depression. The patient may experience excessive sleeping, difficulty in concentration, increased appetite, irritability, intolerance, weakness, and mood changes. These are all interpreted as seasonal depression; however, they may reveal diabetic problems.

Thyroid diseases

Especially in the presence of hypothyroidism, weakness, exhaustion, weight gain, desire to sleep throughout the day, difficulty in concentration, and thought disorders or suicidal thoughts that lead to reasoning disorder may develop.

Chronic infectious diseases

In the initial stages of chronic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis or sexually transmitted diseases, depressive symptoms such as energy loss, concentration difficulty, agitation, loss of appetite and fatigue may occur.

Blood diseases

In cases of anemia that develops due to simple or more serious causes, weakness, unwillingness, lack of motivation, lack of appetite, sleep disturbances and concentration difficulties can be seen.

Vitamin, mineral deficiencies

B group (especially B12) vitamins, folic acid, vitamin D, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus deficiencies or mineral accumulation on some vital organs like liver and brain can develop common symptoms like those in depression.

Other neurological diseases

In the presence of diseases that directly affect the brain such as Parkinson’s disease, alcohol-induced brain degeneration and epilepsy, the differential diagnosis should be made carefully before the diagnosis of depression is made. The reason why is because these diseases can show depressive symptoms such as confusion, difficulty concentrating and loss of motivation.

Central and peripheral nervous system diseases

The first signs of infections in brain tissue or related structures, bulks (cysts, tumors), degenerative diseases and demyelinating diseases – potentially leading to nerve injury – may be seen as depression symptoms. The patient may develop concentration difficulties, weakness, reasoning disorders, confusion, loss of motivation, hopelessness and thoughts of death.

Daily Sabah – Health