Hiding a depression: find out if someone you know - or you yourself! - is doing this
It's not always easy to tell if someone has depression. While some signs such as sadness, pessimism and withdrawal from social interaction are easy to recognise, other symptoms may be less obvious. And some people are very good at hiding their depression - even from themselves! Here, we take a look at some of the possible signs of hidden depression.
Change in appetite and weight gain or loss
Worrying less or more than usual can indicate hidden depression. Some people lose their appetite because of their low mood while others eat more than usual for comfort. Changes in diet can lead to weight loss or gain, and a dramatically altered appearance can affect a person's self-esteem.
Bach Flower Mix 61 can be helpful for someone with a loss of appetite.
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Insomnia or oversleeping
Sleep is vital for good mental health. Insomnia increases the risk of depression by up to 10 times. People suffering from depression often find it difficult to sleep, and a lack of sleep makes their depression worse. Conversely, sleeping longer than usual can also be a sign of hidden depression, so be aware of any changes to sleep patterns.
Alcohol or drug use
Some people with hidden depression may cope with their feelings of loneliness, sadness or hopelessness with drugs or alcohol. Up to 1 in 5 people with a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety also have a substance or alcohol use disorder. A similar number of those who misuse drugs or alcohol also have other mental health issues.
Everyone feels tired at times, but excessive fatigue is a common sign of depression.
If you notice someone loses their train of thought when you're talking to them, or tails off while they search for a word, this can indicate poor concentration. This is a common sign of depression, although it can also be a symptom of other health problems.
Hidden depression is sometimes called smiling depression because people hiding their symptoms will often put on a smile in a social setting. However, the mask will sometimes slip, and this is when you may notice signs of loneliness, sadness or pessimism.
A lack of interest in hobbies
A lack of interest in hobbies and other activities that the person used to take pleasure in is often one of the first symptoms of hidden depression that people notice.
Physical health disorders
While depression is a mental health issue, it can also have an impact on physical health. As well as fatigue and changes in weight, other physical signs to watch our for include chronic pain, digestive issues, headaches and backache. The person may also be more irritable than usual.
A diminished sex drive
The libido may decrease if someone is suffering from depression for many reasons, including fatigue, aches and pains, and a lack of interest in any pleasurable activity, which includes sex.
Signs of hidden depression in children or adolescents
Depression in childhood is on the increase around the world. Yet many people are still not aware of the problem, and it is easy to miss the signs.
Because young children often don't have the capacity to express their feelings verbally, childhood depression is more likely to show itself in physical symptoms such as separation anxiety, aches and pains, and restlessness. Other signs to watch out for include:
- Withdrawal from socialising
- Loss of interest in their favourite activities
- Talking about dying or death
- Giving away their treasured possessions
- Poor concentration
- Running away or talking about running away
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite (an increase of appetite is often seen in depressed teenagers)
- Poor self-esteem
- New-onset aggression or agitation
Helping children and teens with depression
If your child is experiencing social and emotional problems, Bach Flower Mix 64 reduces the risk of depression and helps them to cope better with stressful situations. Bach Flower Mix 66 can help older children and teenagers to throw off dejection and gloom, restore their self-esteem and calm down their anger.
Some other ways in which you can support them include:
- Seeking support from friends and family
- Boosting their self-esteem with praise
- Encouraging them to socialise
- Reducing stress with yoga or meditation
- Joining a support group
- Participating in their favourite fun activities
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
How can you help if someone has hidden depression?
If someone you know seems to have signs or symptoms of hidden depression, try to offer non-judgemental support. Talk to them about their feelings. Some other ways to support them include accompanying them to appointments, going for a walk or run together, planning an outing with them, and encouraging them to socialise with family and friends.
Last but not least, caring for someone suffering from depression can be challenging, so don't forget to look after your own mental and physical health.
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