5 Surprising Signs of Depression
When depression goes undiagnosed and untreated, patients increase their risks for things like heart attack, stroke, and insomnia. Some people with untreated depression turn to self-medication in the form of substance abuse. In the worst cases, the illness turns fatal with suicide.
There are several explanations for why some people never get the help they need for depression. For example, many people worry about the stigma surrounding mental health treatments. Unfortunately, some people with depression fail to seek help because their symptoms don’t match what they think depression looks like.
While some patients with depression experience overwhelming sadness, others never have this symptom. Instead, they experience lesser-known symptoms like the ones below.
1. Trouble Focusing
Depression is a physical illness in the brain. As such, it causes damage to specific areas of the brain, including the amygdala and hippocampus. These changes shorten a person’s attention span, making it difficult to focus on daily tasks at work and at home.
Although this is one surprising symptom of depression, it is relatively common. Furthermore, one study found that trouble concentrating is one of the most debilitating symptoms of depression. The longer depression goes without treatment, the worse this sign gets.
2. Uncontrolled or Misplaced Anger
Depression is a frustrating and isolating mental illness. Patients often experience constant negative thoughts about themselves. These thoughts are intrusive, upsetting, and mean. If left untreated, this inner monologue naturally leads to anger with the situation. In response, patients with depression may lash out at any perceived slight.
Furthermore, people with depression may feel hopeless about their situations. They may not know how to get help or even how to identify their intense emotions. This hopelessness can also lead to anger, whether patients direct their rage at themselves or the people around them.
3. Difficulty Making Decisions
Every day, people with and without depression make many small choices. For example, people must decide when to get up, what to wear, how to start their mornings, whether to go to work, and what to eat for breakfast before they even leave the house. While these choices may come naturally to mentally healthy people, patients with depression struggle to find the energy to make these decisions.
Not only do people with depression experience low energy levels, but they also wonder what’s the point of making these choices. For example, someone may think, “Who cares what I wear? I’m ugly no matter what.” These negative thoughts only make it more difficult to make even the most basic choices.
4. Pain Throughout the Body
Not only can depression cause emotional and cognitive symptoms, but many patients experience physical pain as well. In fact, 69 percent of patients who meet the criteria for a depression diagnosis booked their appointments with only physical ailments in mind. Without treatment, depression can cause pain in the:
- Digestive tract
While some patients develop physical pain due to depression, others develop chronic pain first. These patients may then develop depression as a reaction to the stress and pain that chronic illness causes.
5. Significant Weight Fluctuations
Depending on the patient, a depressive episode can cause either weight gain or weight loss. That’s because depression changes a person’s appetite. They may overeat to hide their negative feelings or refuse to eat much at all.
While some weight fluctuation is normal and can even be healthy, unintended weight changes can be a surprising symptom of depression. In some cases, the weight changes can cause depression as well.
If you or a loved one experiences these or any other symptoms of depression, seek help as soon as possible. The experienced and compassionate therapists at FLBH can help you recognize the symptoms of depression and overcome them.