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5 Signs of Depression You May Not Know

woman suffering from uncommon signs of depression
By LifeStance Health on September 1, 2022

This content has been updated from previous article.

The last two years of the COVID epidemic has increased the incidences of anxiety and depression by 25%. While no one has been spared by the effects of the pandemic from lockdowns to supply chain disruptions, depression disproportionally affects young people, women and those over 60 years old.

In the United States, depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and affects more than 17 million adults in the country each year. Depression results from a combination of social, psychological, and biological factors. People who experience more adverse life events like violent events, the death of a loved one, professional or personal setbacks are more likely to develop it.

Depression can lead to suicide and sadly is often undiagnosed, with only with only half of those from depression getting mental health care. So, chances are that you or someone close to you has experienced depression, and its most common symptoms may be well known to you: feeling sad, the loss of energy, weight loss or gain, and disruptive sleep are all closely associated with depression.

But for some of those 17 million people, depression can take many forms. Below are just five of the signs of more severe forms of depression you may not know. If you or someone you love has any signs of depression, don’t wait to get help. Depression is a serious, sometimes fatal disorder. For serious cases, it may require a long term treatment program and our compassionate mental health care providers are here to help through in-person or online appointments.

1. Sadness or loss of interest

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed kind of depression. For people receiving this diagnosis, one of the symptoms must be either an overwhelming feeling of sadness or a loss of interest or withdrawal from most usual activities. With all the social disruptions the COVID pandemic has created, it can be hard to reconnect with a friend or loved one. However, if you notice that someone you care about is having continued difficulty in regaining social confidence or continues to feel down due to negative news cycles, it may be time to intervene.

2. Mental Slowdown

Depression takes a significant toll on the brain. Sometimes, this makes it difficult for people to concentrate, organize, and remember things. Cognitive signs of depression can include slowed thinking, or present themselves in slower speaking or body movements. It can also manifest in trouble concentrating or remembering things.

People with depression may suddenly start:

  • Being late to everything
  • Misplacing important things
  • Forgetting important details
  • Zoning out from conversations
  • Struggling to concentrate even on basic tasks

If you notice any of these issues in yourself or a loved one, it could be a sign of depression or another mental health condition.

3. Increased Anger and Irritability

Anger can be a healthy, normal reaction to events. However, uncontrollable or unpredictable anger can become unhealthy, unsafe for others, and even a sign of a mood disorder like depression. Unhealthy anger can mean that someone is quick to get frustrated and feels easily irritated. It can also mean exploding with anger even with relatively small triggers. Sometimes, but not always, people with unhealthy anger can destroy property or hurt others.

4. Passive Thoughts of Death

You know wanting to die and actively planning to die by suicide are signs of depression. If you or someone you love has these thoughts, seek emergency care.

Many people don’t realize that there are different types of suicidal thoughts. Someone does not need to have a plan in order for their thoughts to indicate that they live with depression. Someone may obsess over the idea of death, hope to go to sleep and not wake up, or even hope to be in an accident. However, they do not plan to actively hurt themselves.

These passive thoughts are still signs of depression, even if the person is not in immediate danger of self-harm. Someone with passive thoughts of death should seek mental health care.

5. Chronic Pain or Lower Pain Tolerance

Although depression is a mental illness, it can affect your physical wellness too. Because of the powerful mind-body connection, people with depression can experience unexplained aches and pains throughout the body. These aches are not intense. Instead, they feel like the body aches that a mild flu might cause.

Furthermore, people with depression often have lower pain tolerance when they are in a depressed state. So, something that would have barely bothered you before may feel really painful.

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