While everyone feels blue from time to time, depression is more than feeling down in the dumps. Unlike just being sad, the symptoms of depression are persistent or sometimes follow a cyclical pattern. A complex mental health condition, depression can also take many forms, include an expansive list of symptoms, and range from mild to severe.
Signs & Symptoms of Depression to Look For
Everyone is different and depression is often comorbid with other behavioral health conditions, so the signs of depression are sometimes harder to spot than people realize. Some people with high-functioning depression can appear fine on the outside while other people are noticeably struggling.
Depressive symptoms can be mental, physical, and behavioral. Some common signs of depression include:
- Low self-worth
- Anhedonia (loss of pleasure in activities the person once enjoyed)
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Inability to concentration
- Lack of motivation
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Persistent physical aches and pains that won’t go away
- Suicidal idealization or behavior
While some of these depression symptoms are well-known or self-explanatory, others may seem more unusual or be harder to detect.
Symptoms & Signs of Mild Depression
While the signs of major depressive disorder are more easily recognizable, symptoms of mild depression may be more subtle or manifest themselves in behaviors not typically associated with depression. Some people may even struggle with depression and not realize it.
Less well-known or more unusual signs of depression may include perfectionism, inattentiveness, pessimism, impulsivity, and risky behavior. While some people naturally come by these behaviors, if they become so pronounced that they affect work, relationships, or daily life, they could be early signs of depression. Because depression can get worse over time, it is better to get depression treatment at the first sign of trouble.
Physical Symptoms of Depression
Because mental health and physical health are often connected, depression can sometimes be accompanied by a variety of physical health issues or conditions. The physical symptoms of depression may include regular headaches, stomachaches, or joint pain, but people often do not realize that these problems are linked to their mental health.
If after a thorough examination, there is no apparent physical medical reason for these symptoms, it may be a sign of depression, and the person should seek care.
Symptoms of Depression Based on Gender
Depression can also be hard to recognize because it is often different for men and women. Some types of depression such as postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopausal depression are specific to women and have more unique symptoms.
While women are also more likely to appear sad and exhibit the traditional symptoms of depression, men are more likely to be irritable or aggressive. Men are also more likely to go to their doctor for physical symptoms of depression versus mental ones.1 These gender differences in depressive symptoms may be due in part to the different coping styles of the sexes.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Depression
Especially when it comes to subtle or more unusual signs of depression, people are quick to explain away or ignore their symptoms, but doing so may cause more harm than good. Without mental health care, depression symptoms could get worse over time and eventually become debilitating. They may also lead to other negative consequences in a person’s life like the development of a variety of behavioral health conditions.
It is important to get a diagnosis sooner rather than later, so then you or you loved one can get treatment and start moving forward. As a system of behavioral healthcare centers, we are here for you. Contact us today to learn about our treatment programs and how we may be able to help.