Hidden in Plain Sight: Subtle Signs of Depression to Watch For
After another long day at work, you collapse on the couch at 5:30 p.m., feeling hungry, but too drained to cook anything. Tomorrow is another busy day in what feels like an endless series of busy days. You’re stressed, you feel like everyone wants something from you, but is your hard work leading anywhere? You’re overwhelmed, but you don’t have the energy to try something new.
But you haven’t cried in months, so you couldn’t possibly have depression…right?
The answer is a little more complicated than that. While “depressed” and “sad” are often used as synonyms, depression doesn’t only present with the classic symptoms of sadness. The low-mood disorder can also affect other aspects of our personalities or habits. Recognizing these hidden signs of depression can be key to getting yourself (or a loved one) the help you need.
While a lack of sleep can contribute to depression, depression can make it harder to sleep, perpetuating the cycle of fatigue. While chronic sleep deprivation may cause neurochemical changes in the brain that trigger depression, sleeping too much can also be a sign of a low-mood disorder.
Appetite and Weight Changes
Drastic changes in appetite or weight can also indicate depression. While some people turn to food for comfort, others lose their appetite during a low mood.
Alcohol or Drug Use
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that in the United States, about 1 in 5 people with anxiety or a mood disorder such as depression also have an alcohol or substance use disorder. Conversely, the same proportion of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also has a mood disorder.
Lack of Concentration
When someone trails off during a conversation, can’t focus on one task for a long time or frequently loses their train of thought, that may indicate a lack of concentration. One study from Frontiers found that cognitive dysfunction is a key trait in major depressive disorder (MDD), while another study found that difficulties with concentration can worsen the social impact of depression by making social interactions more difficult.
Disinterest in Hobbies
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “a loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities” is one of the telltale signs of depression.
Negative self-talk is an inner dialogue that’s demeaning or self-critical. While research on the psychological effects of self-talk is limited, studies show that people with depression are more likely to have negative thoughts about themselves and that negative self-talk can impact cognitive function.
At Jamison Consultants Integrated Healthcare Services, we’re committed to providing our patients with therapeutic and behavioral health services that will make a lasting difference in their lives. Our licensed therapists and counselors are equipped to care for patients with a variety of mental health diagnoses during individual, group, or family therapy, school-based counseling, or crisis management sessions. Learn more about our behavioral health services here.