Most of us assume that the signs of depression are obvious.
Whilst it’s true that some of the symptoms – which include a chronically low mood, feeling tearful, and having no motivation – are readily spotted, there are lots of other signs that most people miss.
If the symptoms on this list sound familiar, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
1. You can’t get to sleep at night.
You might assume that everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time, and that a few sleepless nights is no big deal.
This is true, but disrupted sleep patterns that don’t resolve themselves after a couple of weeks could be a sign of depression.
Note, however, that some people with depression (around 15%) sleep too much instead of too little.
2. Food doesn’t taste as good as it used to – or it tastes too good.
Depression also affects your eating patterns.
Some depressed people lose interest in food, whereas others turn to unhealthy snacks to make themselves feel better.
These changes are thought to occur for a range of reasons.
Nausea and stomach problems can be symptoms of depression, which can make food unappealing.
On the other hand, junk food can also temporarily improve mood by triggering the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain.
3. It seems harder to make decisions.
Depression can lead to muddled thinking and a decreased attention span.
You might even feel as though you have dropped a few IQ points because you find it harder to process information.
This can slow you down at work or school.
4. You end up thinking and talking about the same problems over and over again.
Everyone thinks about their past mistakes from time to time.
However, if you find yourself relentlessly analyzing the same old problems most days, you may have fallen into the habit of rumination.
This kind of negative thinking is often seen in depressed individuals.
5. You have random aches and pains.
Depression doesn’t just affect the mind.
It also has a big impact on your body.
It’s common for depressed people to experience headaches, backaches, and even random muscle pain.
6. Everyone makes you mad.
Depressed people are often irritable.
You may even get impatient with your partner or closest friends.
This can make you feel guilty, because you know that they haven’t done anything wrong.
It feels as though you are becoming an intolerant, angry person.
7. You aren’t interested in sex.
Depression doesn’t always mean a loss of libido, but most depressed people report that their interest in sex takes a nosedive.
8. You want to drink more alcohol.
Alcohol can briefly make the world seem a friendlier place. It helps people relax – but only temporarily.
Alcohol is actually a depressant, which means it will make you feel low after the first few drinks.
Nevertheless, those with mood problems often turn to it in the hope of feeling better.
If you find it hard to control your alcohol intake, this could be a sign of depression, addiction, or both.
9. Your weight changes.
If you are eating significantly more or less food that usual, or drinking more alcohol, your weight may change.
Doctors consider a weight loss or gain of more than 5% to be clinically significant, so it’s worth reporting unintentional weight change to your healthcare practitioner.
10. Meeting up with friends doesn’t make you feel good.
When someone is merely a bit down or in a bad mood, hanging out with friends usually makes them feel significantly better.
Unfortunately, if you are depressed, socializing is often the last thing you want to do.
If the thought of going out with friends fills you with despair rather than happy anticipation, this is a warning sign.
11. You aren’t really interested in the future.
When you’re depressed, the future often looks bleak.
As a result, you might have little or no interest in making plans.
If you are normally an ambitious person who likes to do everything according to a schedule, take this symptoms seriously.
If you believe that things will never improve and that you are better off dead, contact a health professional immediately.
One or two of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean that you have depression, and diagnosing yourself isn’t a good idea.
On the other hand, if your mood has dropped recently and you can relate to the symptoms on this list, it’s time to investigate further.
Book an appointment with a therapist or doctor as soon as possible.
Depression is a brutal illness, but there is plenty of help out there.