The Hidden Message From Depression

Typical symptoms of depression tend to create feelings of sadness or hopelessness in people. However, there are also many hidden symptoms of depression, teaching us that it is not just “surface-level sadness”. Here are some of the hidden symptoms of depression that ask us to pay closer attention to the signals our body and mind are sending us. (1)

Changes to Appetite and Weight

If you find yourself eating too much it could be because it is common to use food for comfort. On the other hand, many people experiencing low mood might also lose their appetite. Weight gain or weight loss related to these changes in eating habits, can actually then make depression worse as weight can negatively impact self-esteem. (1)

Poor Sleep

Mood is related to sleep, with depression teaching us it often leads to sleep deprivation. In this case, it is almost a chicken before the egg situation, as lack of sleep can contribute to depression, but depression can also lead to a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation due to depression could be linked to neurochemical changes in the brain. There can also be cases where you find you sleep too much when you feel depressed. This ties in with fatigue, with some studies showing more than 90% of people with depression feel overly tired. (1,2)

Increased Alcohol or Drug Use

Increased use of alcohol or drugs could be a way of coping with depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) around 20% of Americans suffering from an anxiety or mood disorder have an alcohol or other substance use disorder and vice versa. (1,3)

“Forced” Happiness

Some people might experience what is called a “smiling depression.” In this case, people hide depression symptoms by displaying forced happiness when socializing. As this can be difficult to keep up, it’s just a matter of time before signs of sadness become more obvious. (1)

Pessimism

People with depression tend to be less optimistic, displaying what is called “depressive realism”. This actually makes people with depression have a more realistic view of the world than those not suffering from depression. This pessimism can also cause people with depression to have fewer positive views about the future. (1,4)

Concentration Challenges

Difficulties with concentration can appear when you are feeling depressed such as losing your train of thought. One study shows this lack of concentration can interfere with work and personal relationships as you lack focus and have difficulty remembering things. (5)

Loss of Interest

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed such as a hobby or playing a sport is a sign of depression. This can include a loss of sex drive. (1,6,7)

A Feeling of Being Unwell

Many health symptoms such as pain or stomach troubles can be a sign of depression. In fact, people with depression can be more susceptible to common physical symptoms and conditions. Depression has been linked to: (1)

  • Backaches and pains and other chronic pain conditions
  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

Irritability or Anger

Mood changes, especially anger and irritability as opposed to a feeling of sadness can also be a sign of depression. (1)

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should speak to your doctor to see if depression is the issue. You can also help overcome many symptoms of depression with Dr. Partha Nandi’s FREE 7-day guided meditation journey.

Sources:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325513
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40263-018-0490-z
  3. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/substance-abuse
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880066/
  5. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090311 
  6. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
  7. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/low-sex-drive-could-it-be-a-sign-of-depression