6 not so obvious signs of depression

6 not so obvious signs of depression


Monday, July 06, 2020

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CONTRARY to what many people believe, depression hardly ever presents itself as a grey cloud of sadness that follows you around and continually rains tears all over your life. In fact, depression often 'masks' itself, making it very difficult to identify and diagnose, especially in the early stages. If left untreated, however, the disorder may interfere with your daily functioning and overall quality of life.

Jenell Eldridge is a direct support specialist for people who are depressed, schizophrenic or suffer from other forms of mood disorders. She says many of the signs of depression are very subtle, and can be mistaken for, or combined with, other physical and psychological conditions. She shared some of the not-so-obvious signs of depression with All Woman.


Changes in eating habits

“One of the earliest signs that something is amiss is a change in diet patterns,” she said. “Some people might start eating more, while others might lose their appetite.” She was quick to point out, however, that depression or any other mood disorders are not the only culprits behind a change in appetite. “Certain medications or other medical conditions may cause these changes, but they usually resolve on their own. It is when the eating disorder is prolonged that it becomes a cause for concern.”


Changes in sleep pattern

Eldridge clarified that while insomnia is a more well-known sign of depression, oversleeping should also be considered. “While on one hand you might find that depressed people find it hard to fall asleep at night, on the other hand, some people may feel so fatigued and exhausted all the time, that they start sleeping more than usual,” she said.


Difficulty concentrating and remembering

“You may also find that some people start having increasing difficulty keeping their train of thought, or remembering simple details,” the counsellor said. “This might manifest in their ability to carry out their jobs efficiently, carry conversations, or carry a task to completion without trailing off.”


Changes in sex drive

“Low libido in someone who usually had a moderate to high sex drive can be a telltale sign,” she said. “But in some cases, so can a suddenly increased libido if the person is using intimacy as a form of instant gratification to cope with depression.” She added that persistent feelings of fatigue may also contribute to lower libido levels.


Loss of optimism and excitement

“It may be very subtle, but when someone who usually has a positive outlook starts to become cynical or matter-of-fact in everyday situations, it may be a sign of a depressive disorder,” she noted. “He or she may also begin to lose interest or excitement for a favourite pastime. It's like they lose their spark.”


Perfect happiness

Perhaps the most believable way in which depression hides itself, Eldridge said, is in the appearance of complete happiness.

“This is what's loosely referred to as 'smiling depression'. These people put on a façade of being content with their lives that is so believable that only those closest to them might notice that they are depressed,” she said. “But when they are alone, they tend to experience the more pronounced signs of depression.”

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