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A recent study has shown that people are finding it difficult to recognize the symptoms of depression in themselves or other people. In fact, it was found that those who live in urban areas (and particularly younger people) found it more difficult to recognize the signs of depression. Men also find it tougher to recognize depression.
This may have something to do with how we tend to push depression aside – with a survey of 4,600 people showing that 62% said they associated depression with some form of shame or disgrace. This stigma may cause some people to ignore the symptoms of depression or simply brush them aside as “feeling sorry for yourself.”
Mark Skidmore of Michigan State University, who authored a study on depression, explained:
So, how do you recognize depression?
Here are six subtle and often-overlooked signs that you, or someone you know, may be feeling depressed:
- Difficulty concentrating
Depression can make it tough to focus or concentrate. Often you may feel preoccupied with something else or simply listless and distracted.
Feeling tired and like you want to sleep all the time is a strong sign of depression. Not wanting to face the world and so going to sleep instead is a common coping mechanism for the depressed. Of course, feeling tired because you have simply not had enough sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed, but a lack of sleep can coincidentally lead to mental health issues in itself!
- Over or Under Eating
Food can also be a good indicator of your mood. Whether that is ‘comfort eating’ or losing your appetite altogether, a changed attitude to food can be a sign of depression too.
- Feelings of Hopelessness
If you are feeling that things are hopeless and that it is hard to see a solution then there is a good chance you are feeling a touch of depression. It is definitely worth seeking some sort of help if these feelings continue.
- Aching Muscles
Your body can also offer clues to your mental wellbeing. Aching muscles can be a subtle sign of depression too. This can be caused by stress being stored away in your muscles. Listen to your body as well as your mind!
- Feeling Sad
As we mentioned, there are those who see depression as a clear case of ‘felling sorry for yourself.’ However, depression is much more than that, and there doesn’t need to be a ‘reason’ for it either. A chemical imbalance could be the cause for your depression – so there needn’t be a ‘reason’ for you to feel sad – and it is not a sign of weakness or anything to be ashamed of. Imagine telling someone with a broken leg or cancer to ‘snap out of it!’
The key lies in recognizing these symptoms in yourself or others, and then doing something about it!
Only when we remove the stigma around mental health issues will we really be able to tackle them and the associated problems such as substance abuse or suicide.