5 Surprising Depression Symptoms
When many people think of depression, they picture someone with extreme sadness who cries a lot. They may also picture someone who cannot get themselves out of bed or complete their daily routines. While depression can manifest in those ways, some people with depression never have these symptoms.
It’s important for people to know the common and surprising symptoms of depression. After all, if people do not know that their symptoms may come from depression, they cannot reach out for the help they need. In turn, the depression goes untreated, which can increase the risk for stroke, heart attacks, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Below are five common signs of depression that many people do not recognize.
1) Physical Pain and Discomfort
Although many people think of depression as strictly a mental illness, it correlates with several physical ailments as well. People with depression often experience physical symptoms such as:
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Back pain
- Psychomotor changes
- Pain in the limbs
Physical problems are so prevalent in depression that 69 percent of people who meet the diagnostic criteria for depression book their initial appointments because of physical symptoms. In some patients, the presence of chronic pain or illness causes depression, while other patients experience the psychological symptoms first.
2) Misplaced or Uncontrolled Anger
Some psychology professionals believe that depression is anger turned inward. As such, it stands to reason that patients with depression may also suffer from uncontrolled rage. People with depression often have thoughts about themselves that are downright mean. Over time, they can react to those thoughts with anger and frustration, just as they would if another person said such awful things.
3) Extreme Weight Changes
Sometimes, changes in weight are normal and even healthy. For example, many people try to get to healthy weights through diets and exercise. However, unintended or extreme changes in weight can serve as a sign of depression.
Some people with depression lose weight rapidly and even become underweight. The intense emotions and fatigue can cause them to forget or refuse to eat. On the other end of the spectrum, some patients with depression gain weight rapidly. They may overeat comfort food in order to compensate for the lack of feel-good hormones in their brains.
4) Difficulty Focusing on Work and Daily Tasks
Depression causes physical changes to areas of the brain such as the amygdala and hippocampus. As a result, many patients with depression find it difficult to concentrate at home, work, or school. These troubles can worsen other symptoms of depression, including making patients feel worthless for accomplishing fewer tasks.
Not only is trouble concentrating one of the most common symptoms of depression, but it’s also one of the most debilitating. If patients experience depressive episodes without treatment, this sign of depression can worsen as the illness damages their brains. Even patients in treatment can experience this symptom, which may mean they need to change their medications.
5) Trouble Making Decisions
Difficulty with decisions is one of the most common and surprising symptoms of depression. People with depression have both physical and emotional problems that can make decisions harder. The damage to the brain impairs several important cognitive functions, including decision making.
Furthermore, patients with depression often have a pessimistic outlook on life and fatigue that hinder decision-making abilities. Every day, people with and without depression make several small choices on what to wear, eat, and do during the day. When a person is exhausted from depression, these choices can take up energy that they just do not have. They may also wonder why they should even bother using that mental space.
If you or someone you love experiences any of the symptoms of depression, contact a therapist near you today. We can connect you with compassionate professionals who can help.