As of 2017, 20% of US adults had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.
Depression is a serious medical illness that can have a severe impact on people’s lives. The good news is that depression is a treatable condition.
But the symptoms of depression often make it hard for people to be able to seek treatment. And for many of us, our friends and family struggle with depression without us even being aware of it.
So read on as we take a look at eight signs that your loved one may be suffering from hidden depression.
1. Changing Habits
One of the most common signs of hidden depression is a sudden and noticeable change in habits.
And one habit that is often affected is sleep. If someone is barely sleeping at all, or sleeping much more than they used to in the past, then this could be a sign that they are suffering from depression. This can be a vicious circle, as good sleep is important for both mental and physical health.
You may also notice a change in their eating or drinking habits. This may be losing all interest in eating and drinking but it may also manifest in our next sign.
2. Excessive Eating or Drinking
For some people, depression will lead to them overeating.
If a loved one is suddenly eating dramatically more then this is a warning sign that they are suffering from depression. And the same is true of their drinking habits; the phrase drowning your sorrows shows how common using alcohol to fight negative feelings is.
If you are concerned about someone’s drinking, you should learn how to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse.
We all get irritable now and again.
But if someone you know has become markedly more irritable over a period of time, then this may be a sign that there are underlying problems. This can often be difficult to spot, particularly in teenagers and children who usually exhibit irritability as part of their development.
If a loved one is more irritable than normal, you should keep an eye out for other signs of depression.
4. A Need for Control
If you are feeling depressed, you will often feel anxious when you are not in control.
So if you spot signs of someone who has an increased need to be in control then this could be a warning sign. It can show up in a number of ways; it may be that they don’t feel comfortable unless they are the one driving the car. Or they may want to take charge of simple tasks such as shopping or loading the dishwasher.
Wanting to take control can make someone seem proactive so it is often easy to miss that this may be a sign of depression.
5. Loss of Interest in Sex
If your partner shows an obvious loss of interest in sex, then one of the root causes may be depression. Once again, this may be partly to do with a need for control; sex is one of the activities in which we are at our most vulnerable.
The same applies to non-physical intimacy; this can also be hard for someone with hidden depression.
6. Turning Down Activities They Enjoy
Aside from sex, there may be other activities that your loved one would normally enjoy that they now seem to be drawing away from.
Look out for activities that they would usually regularly enjoy, such as playing sports or going to the gym. If they stop taking part in these activities as much as they used to then it may be because they are no longer deriving any pleasure from them. This is a clear sign of suffering from depression.
A fear of having to engage with others may also drive this change in behavior.
7. Becoming Withdrawn
One of the most simple ways to avoid having to take part in activities they no longer want to do is to become more withdrawn.
If your loved one begins keeping themselves to themselves much more then this may be a sign that they are feeling depressed. You may also notice that they begin to make excuses for not taking part in group activities.
The difficulty here is that the less you see them, the more difficult it is to be able to spot the other symptoms of depression that they may be exhibiting. This is particularly true if they provide convincing reasons for why you are seeing less of them.
8. Becoming More Emotional
If someone you know becomes uncharacteristically emotional, then this could be a warning sign of depression. You may notice that someone who does not normally become outwardly emotional during movies or television shows is suddenly weeping as they watch.
They may also become more emotional towards you personally, expressing their affection for you in ways that are not typical of their usual behavior.
What Should I Do If I See Signs of Hidden Depression?
If you notice any of these warning signs, there are things you can do to help.
Tell the person that you are there to support them and to listen to them. Many people with depression are concerned about burdening others, so be clear that helping them is something that would make you happy.
Encourage them to take better care of themselves by eating properly, steering clear of drugs and alcohol, exercising, and sleeping as well as they can. And encourage them to visit their doctor or seek out support groups that can help them.
Are You Looking for More Ways to Help Your Family?
We hope that this article might help you to spot the signs of hidden depression in your own family members.
And we have plenty more great tips and advice when it comes to you and your family. We also have a wide range of other articles covering everything from hobbies and lifestyle to travel and technology.
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