5 Uncommon Signs of Depression
A Short Fuse
For most, depression equals severe sadness, but it can also manifest as being short-tempered or snapping at others.
In the same way that some people with depression find themselves crying without knowing why, others may find themselves irritable and angry without understanding it.
According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, 54 % of people with depression feel hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry.
While it’s typically seen in men and teens, a quick temper can affect anyone.
Rapid weight changes
Weight loss is usually greeted by happiness by most. But unintentional and substantial weight loss over a short period could be a symptom of depression.
Depression can suppress your appetite. Therefore, you may find yourself going from eating three meals a day to eating only one.
On the flip side, depression can also rev up your appetite and cause you to binge eat, which can lead to significant weight gain and feelings of guilt and shame.
Aches and Pain
Unexplained pain could be a red flag for depression – that is, if there’s no medical diagnosis for the pain.
A study in the journal Pain, found that people with depression are four times more likely to have intense or disabling neck and lower back pain than those without the condition.
Headaches, stomach cramps, digestive problems, stiffness or greater sensitivity to pain in general may also be linked to depression.
Trouble making decisions
Can’t decide what to wear today? Not sure what to eat for breakfast? Depression may be to blame.
Depression can be mentally distressing and energy-sapping, which can take a hit on your cognitive performance.
You may find that simple, mundane decisions you wouldn’t normally think twice about become weighty or seem paralysing.
Occasional boredom is normal, but if you’ve lost interest in something you once enjoyed, be concerned.
The sadness that comes with depression often goes in hand-in-hand with the inability to feel pleasure. Things stop sounding fun and may not seem worth the effort anymore. You slowly start to drop previously enjoyable activities and turn to less demanding tasks like watching TV or sleeping.
Don’t ignore the symptoms – take them seriously! Don’t wait and hope that they will go away. Depression can be damaging and even fatal if left untreated. Get professional help as soon as possible.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says that the majority of people who need help will get it.
Speak to your doctor who do a physical exam to evaluate any underlying illness which may be causing or worsening your depression. A treatment plan will then be set up to tackle immediate symptoms and to plan for long-term help. Depression is more than feeling blue; get help if you lose interest in previously enjoyable activities.
If you need urgent help, contact SADAG: to contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday, call: (011) 234 48 37. You can also try the Pharma Dynamics’ toll-free helpline: 0800 20 50 26.
Selfcare when you’re feeling blue:
Follow a healthy, balanced diet to get enough B-complex vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Without enough B-vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates, your nervous system can’t function properly. This, in turn, can lead to depression.
Read our healthy eating guidelines to find dietary tips to make healthy eating easy.
You can also find recipes for feel-good, mood-lifting food here.
Regular exercise releases endorphins, which can bring on a sense of relief and contentment. All it takes is a 30-minute session to get your fix. Try walking, jogging or cycling.
You can also try deep breathing exercises like meditation.
New research published in Translational Psychiatry found that when meditation and aerobic exercises were done together twice a week for eight weeks, depressive symptoms and overwhelming negative thoughts were reduced by 40 % in participants.
This can help you figure out triggers that set off depressive feelings.
Go back and regularly read your entries to track your trigger points and find ways of arresting those feelings before they hit.
This can help create positive feelings of self-worth and value.
Studies have shown that volunteering helps you feel more socially connected, which can ward off loneliness and depression.