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Alternative symptoms of depression, identify them today

July 20, 2021

Depression hits everyone hard, but it also hits everyone differently. 

While some of the more common symptoms of depression include continued feelings of hopelessness, angry outbursts, loss of interest, and sleep disturbances (to name a few), several subtle symptoms need to be identified to mitigate before the depression becomes more severe. 

Often, navigating through depression requires professional help, and it’s difficult to think about how many people are out in the universe experiencing subtle symptoms and just living with depression; without any coping mechanisms or assistance. 

“About one in 10 Americans experience depression at any given time, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people with depression don’t even know they have it. Depressive symptoms may range from mild to severe and they can vary greatly”

Psychology Today 

With subtle symptoms of depression, it is very difficult for loved ones to identify and notice that their loved one needs help since they appear outwardly happy and high functioning.

Taking the time to learn about the alternative, subtle symptoms of depression is so important for you and your family to know when it is time to seek professional assistance. 

These are the seven subtle symptoms of depression that we want you to have the power to identify today. 

Feelings of pain

The link between mental health and physical wellbeing is complex and nuanced, and in many ways, these connections are still not entirely understood.  

What is certain is that our emotional wellbeing can have a concrete and physical impact on our bodies. For some people living with depression, chronic unexplained pain can be one of the most obvious symptoms. 

While many people with depression complain of back pain, joint pain and stiffness, reoccurring headaches, and pain in the digestive system. Additionally, studies have shown that as depression worsens, so does the severity of depression-related pain.  

Irritable and angry outbursts

When we think of depression, we usually revert to sadness as the primary emotion. But, for some people, depression can cause constant irritability and agitation. 

A depressed individual may walk around with a perpetually short fuse and even have angry outbursts at seemingly minor inconveniences, like dinner not being ready at the exact time you anticipated or the person next to you chewing a tad bit too loudly.  

If you feel like every person and circumstance has been making you irritable much more than usual, and you can’t seem to calm down and enjoy the moment, you may be dealing with depression or another mental health-related issue. 

Rapid Weight Loss or Gain

Poor mental health can significantly impact our appetite and can cause a person to gain or lose weight very quickly. 

While some people with depression find themselves using food as a coping mechanism and reaching for high-fat and high-calorie comfort foods during stressful times, others find that their appetite disappears almost entirely. 

A change of more than five percent body weight in a month without trying to lose or gain is worth a trip to the doctor to check for any physical or mental health conditions causing the fluctuation.  

Continued indecisiveness

Depression can make even the simplest decision seem like it may have life-changing consequences. When indecisiveness is high, making any choice can seem dire, as depression slows down cognition and can make your brain feel sluggish and foggy. 

If you find that you’re constantly encountering decisions you can’t seem to make, or you don’t feel clear-minded enough to think logically about choices you face every day, take notice and jot down on a piece of paper or in your phone how often this is occurring. If indecisiveness continues to elevate, it may be a good idea to have a professional look into this matter. 

A decline in grooming and/or personal hygiene 

While it’s common to identify a depressed person as being disheveled or unconcerned with their appearance, the process of becoming visibly depressed is often slow and subtle.  

Small changes usually happen over a significant period as a person sinks into depression. For example, a person who usually wears makeup that suddenly stops, or someone who always does their hair before leaving the house neglecting to brush or style it all anymore. 

Neglecting small acts of self-care can lead to more dramatic changes such as skipping showers or choosing not to brush teeth for days on end; while our outward appearance is not always a sign of our mental health, failing to take pride in how you present yourself may be a sign of depression.  

Experiencing difficulties at work

Depression can affect work-life on multiple levels, but one of the first depressive symptoms you may notice is an unusual aversion to working and interacting with coworkers. 

Even people who don’t love their job can find ways to enjoy themselves and create a sense of satisfaction if they are mentally healthy and happy. For those with depression, even a dream job can begin to feel like a burden and suddenly require more mental and physical energy than it used to. 

A person who begins performing poorly at work or suddenly has difficulty making it to work may be experiencing subtle signs of depression.

Substance Abuse

This is a big one but somehow often gets overlooked as a sign of depression. 

Depression is heavy and painful if left untreated, and many people with this mental illness turn to drugs and alcohol to numb themselves as an attempt to cope. 

For some people, substance abuse can appear normal to loved ones, especially when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol is often considered a culturally acceptable way to deal with stress and sadness.  

Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to addiction. Those who believe they may be struggling with a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental illness should seek treatment from an addiction recovery center equipped to provide a dual diagnosis. 

About True

True provides a wide variety of essential resources for people struggling with mental health and addiction, tailored to address unique needs and goals. We offer a space where you can work with trained, caring professionals to overcome obstacles and achieve potential in every aspect of life. Call us at (844) 744-TRUE(8783)