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The tricky thing about depression is that sometimes, people try to hide its signs from others, while some don’t even realize that they are already depressed. Although the common symptoms of depression like hopelessness or sadness are easily recognizable, some symptoms are less obvious.
Here are some hidden signs of depression you need to keep an eye on, whether it is for people around you or for yourself.
Drug or Alcohol Use
Some people suffering from mood disorders may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, or sadness.
Studies have revealed that people with a mood disorder or anxiety also tend to have a substance or alcohol use disorder. Similarly, those who have a substance or alcohol use disorder are also found to have a mood disorder.
Changes in Weight and Appetite
Eating too little or too much may also indicate depression. There are people who find comfort in food while others eat less or lose their appetite because of a low mood. Changes in food intake can make a person lose or gain weight.
Dramatic weight changes may even worsen depression because they can impact the self-esteem of a person. Physiological factors may also be at play here. For example, increased body inflammation and carrying excess fat are found to be connected. In turn, it might result in increased severity or development of depressive symptoms.
Irritability or Anger
- A lot of people often don’t associate irritability and anger with depression.
- What they don’t realize is that these changes in mood are quite common among depressed people.
- Rather than looking sad and lonely, some people who hide their depression may become irritable or exhibit suppressed or overt anger.
Changes in Sleep Habits
Sleep and mood have a strong link. Lack of sleep may contribute to depression, while depression can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
People with insomnia have higher risks of developing depression compared to those who don’t have any trouble sleeping. Conversely, excessive sleeping may also be a sign that someone might be depressed.
Disregard of Hobbies
Loss of pleasure or interest in activities and hobbies is listed as one of the telltale depressive symptoms. Lack of interest in activities that someone used to love may be among the initial signs that others notice if someone close to them has depression.
A feeling of excessive tiredness is a very common sign of depression, with several studies suggesting that many depressed people experience fatigue.
While it is normal for people to feel tired now and then, people with persistent or severe tiredness, especially if other symptoms accompany it, may have hidden depression.
People sometimes call hidden depression a smiling depression. It is because people who often hide their depressive symptoms may put on a forced smile when surrounded by others. But keeping up this forced happiness is not easy so the mask might slip, with the person showing signs of loneliness, hopelessness, or sadness.
One theory state that depressed people may also display the trait known as depressive realism. It means that the person might be more accurate in how they view events as well as their control over these events compared to those who are not depressed.
People with depression may exhibit pessimism as well. Studies also suggest that those who have a major depressive disorder usually view the future negatively.
Being more pessimistic or realistic than others might just be one of the many signs of depression, particularly if the person also has other possible depressive symptoms.
Loss of Concentration
If someone loses his train of thought or trails off during conversations, it can indicate problems with concentration and memory, a prevalent depressive symptom.
A study also suggests that challenges with focus and concentration can further worsen depression and its social impact as it makes personal and work-life relationships more difficult.
Reduced Sex Drive
Some health experts also consider sex drive changes as key indicators for the diagnosis of major depressive episodes. There are a few reasons behind the reduced libido of a depressed person, including the following:
- low energy levels and fatigue
- disinterest in pleasurable activities like sex
- low self-esteem
Health Disorders and Physical Pain
Depression may be a mental health condition, yet it is also found to cause some physical problems. Aside from fatigue and weight changes, you also need to keep a close eye on the following physical symptoms of hidden depression:
- chronic pain conditions
- digestive problems
Studies also indicate that people suffering from major depression are more likely to experience the following conditions than those who don’t:
- autoimmune conditions
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
What to Do If You Suspect That You Have Hidden Depression
If you believe or suspect that you have hidden depression, it is important to talk to a mental health expert or your doctor. These professionals can diagnose the condition and suggest the right course of treatment.
Depression treatment might also include other steps such as:
- asking support from family or friends
- using positive self-affirmations to improve self-esteem
- eating a healthy and balanced diet
- exercising regularly
- socializing with other people (though it might be difficult with depression)
- reducing stress, such as through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga
- engaging in hobbies and activities the person enjoyed before or identifying new activities that might be interesting to them
- participating in a support group
What to Do If You Think Someone Close to You Has Hidden Depression
If someone close to you seems to exhibit signs of hidden depression, you can try discussing their symptoms with them. You can also try to offer advice and support without being judgmental.
This support can be in the form of the following:
- encouraging them to socialize with others
- encouraging them to seek treatment ( mypsychotherapist.co.uk )
- offering to accompany them to appointments
- exercising together
- planning fun activities together
Not all depressed people display the common signs of despair and sadness. Watch out for these signs to help yourself or a loved one before things get worse.