Many of us think we would recognize symptoms of depression if they started happening to us. Loss of interest in things we used to enjoy, feelings of sadness or hopelessness – they’re symptoms that can be hard to ignore. But what about that headache that just won’t go away, or forgetting to do laundry for the second week in a row? Sometimes depression can manifest in ways that we’re not expecting, and we can end up missing important warning signs.
Here are five commonly overlooked signs of depression to watch for.
You’re More Irritable If you’ve noticed you’re snippier than usual lately, there might be an underlying reason. Irritability, anger, and hostility aren’t necessarily symptoms of depression, but research has found that depressed people tend to experience these feelings more frequently and for longer durations than people who aren’t depressed. In fact, one study estimated that more than half of depressed people say they feel hostile or argumentative as well.
You’ve Gained Weight Many people turn to comfort food when they’re feeling down, and it’s no coincidence why. Eating indulgent food causes the brain to release serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical.
The downside is that over time, frequently turning to comfort food can lead to weight gain and feelings of guilt. These feelings can cause a surplus of the hormone cortisol in the bloodstream, which can make losing weight more difficult.
You’re Drinking More Research has shown that roughly one-third of people with depression also have a problem with alcohol abuse. While alcohol can temporarily mask negative feelings associated with depression, alcohol itself is a depressant.
This can lead to reoccurring substance-induced depression, with amplified feelings of aggression, anxiety, and sadness. So, if you’ve noticed your happy hour drink has turned into two or three, it might be more than just a rough day at the office.
You’re Showering Less People who are in the midst of a depressive episode are more likely to skimp on their physical hygiene. Showering less, wearing dirty clothes, or neglecting oral hygiene could all be signs of a deeper issue. Research has even linked higher levels of neglect to correlate with more severe underlying issues.
It’s normal to feel down from time to time, but when it begins to affect your quality of life, it might be time to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Depression has many different treatment options – it’s just a matter of finding the option that will work best for you.
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