When it comes to spotting the signs of depression - whether it’s in ourselves or someone else, most of us are fairly confident that we’d easily be able to do so. Low mood, a lack of interest in pretty much everything, feeling tearful, no energy and being irritable are just some of the symptoms that spring to mind.
It’s important to remember with depression however that it’s not a one-size-fits-all condition and whilst there are of course typical symptoms, depression can look very different from one person to the next. Below are some of the more obscure signs of the mental illness that are frequently overlooked.
Changes in weight
Typically, when people ask if we have lost weight we consider this to be a compliment. However, unintentional weight loss - especially a substantial amount over a short period of time - can be one of the many signs of depression. Decreased or suppressed appetite is a chemical side effect of the condition so if you have noticed that you or someone you are concerned about has drastically reduced their food intake for no obvious reason it could be a sign of depression.
Anyone who has ever suffered from depression will know that this is a confusing and frustrating time - you are feeling all these things and you don’t know why or how to control it. Inevitably, this will result in a change in mood. Being short-tempered, having a short-fuse and snapping at others is most frequently seen in men and teenagers but can affect anybody with the condition. If you have noticed that you have become irritable and angry and can’t understand why, it may be worth talking to somebody about it.
Aches and pains
Aches and pains are normally associated with physical illness, not mental illness. Believe it or not however, pain symptoms are now considered a red flag for depression amongst health professionals. These can range from tenderness and skin sensitivity to muscle pain, stiffness and even stomach cramps and digestive problems.
Finding it difficult to make decisions
We all struggle to make decisions from time to time but if you’re struggling to make everyday, mundane choices such as what to wear to work or what to make for dinner, this could very well be a symptom of depression. The mental distress and low energy that comes with depression can sometimes make these decisions feel all-consuming and sufferers will find themselves becoming overwhelmed when trying to make even the simplest of decisions.