Depression's Silent Symptoms- The Lesser-Known Signs Everyone Should Know

Depression’s Silent Symptoms: The Lesser-Known Signs Everyone Should Know

Team Psychiatry

What comes to mind when you think about someone with depression? If you’ve watched TV or a movie depicting a depressed person, you probably envision a forlorn individual with their eyes wet with tears, wearing the same clothes they’ve had on all week, shoveling ice cream or some other equally-unhealthy food down their throat as they watch sad movies from their bed. While this is what depression looks like for some people, many people with depression just don’t fit this image. There are several lesser known signs of depression that people may experience but not understand why they are happening, leading to them not seeking help or being misdiagnosed and improperly treated. Here are some commonly overlooked signs of depression that everyone should be aware of for both their own mental health and to help care for their loved ones.

Anger Attacks

Most people associate sadness, hopelessness, and melancholy with depression, but these symptoms only make up part of the picture. Quite a few people with depression fluctuate between these low feelings and episodes of extreme anger, irritability, and impatience, often referred to as “anger attacks”. During an anger attack, the individual may experience feelings of intense negativity that manifest as explosive outbursts that are incongruent with the events that are occurring.

Cognitive Changes

Studies have shown that there are actual differences in the gray matter of the brain in some individuals with depression when compared to the “average” person. This should make it no surprise that actual cognitive changes have also been observed in depression patients, often referred to as “brain fog”. Individuals experiencing brain fog will have slower reaction times, an inability to focus or concentrate, and increased forgetfulness. Patients often report feeling like they have a mental block that is stopping them from starting what they need to do and become easily distracted or avoid their responsibilities.

Appetite Changes

Both overeating and undereating can be signs of depression, especially if it is a significant change from the person’s typical eating pattern. As such, losing or gaining weight rapidly, or fluctuating between the two, can be signs of depression as well.

Substance Abuse

Many people with depression use and abuse illicit substances as a way of self-medicating their symptoms, unaware that they are experiencing these feelings due to clinical depression. The stigma surrounding depression and other mental health conditions also contribute to people’s unwillingness to seek proper mental health care and instead turn to alcohol and drugs. As a result, they are often labeled as irresponsible instead of recognizing the true origin and purpose of their addiction.

Severe Fatigue

Another common complaint in individuals with depression is severe fatigue without any apparent reason. This fatigue can cause sleep disturbances, lack of motivation, and decreased interest in activities that were previously enjoyed. Fatigue can be attributed to low levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which is what many medications for depression attempt to correct.

Frequently Asked Questions About Depression Symptoms

Do all people with depression have the same symptoms?

No, each person with depression will have their own unique combination of symptoms. These may be the common symptoms of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in the activities of daily life, or some of the lesser-known symptoms mentioned above.

Are there medications that help with depression symptoms?

Yes, there are several medications available to treat the symptoms and underlying causes of depression. Discuss your symptoms with a qualified psychiatrist for guidance on which medications are best for you.

Get Help for Depression in New England

Millions of Americans experience symptoms of clinical depression each year, with many of them suffering in silence. By being aware of not only the well-known symptoms of depression, but also lesser-known but equally impactful symptoms such as brain fog, anger attacks, fatigue, and substance abuse, you can get ahead of devastating depression symptoms before they derail your entire life, or the life of friends and family. For help with depression in Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Massachusetts, contact South County Psychiatry at 401-268-5333 or request an appointment online.