Blog: Depression is a common and very treatable disorder. However, it’s also common for the people closest to the condition to not realize there’s a problem, whether it’s a dear friend, spouse, sibling, or yourself.
Part of the challenge with spotting depression lies in the fact that it can vary significantly from person to person. And, sometimes symptoms can be blamed on other causes, such as a bad day at work. Furthermore, many people don’t realize they have depression because they don’t understand the condition or they don’t want to see themselves as depressed.
Poonam Malhotra, MD, at Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida, knows how depression can negatively affect your health and quality of life. She also understands how easy it can be to confuse the signs of the disorder with something else entirely.
If you’ve been feeling “off” lately, here are some signs of depression that often get overlooked.
1. Low mood
This symptom may seem obvious. However, people often think these feelings must be severe to qualify as depression. But you can have depression even if you aren’t crying all the time. A depressed mood can even lift temporarily and seem to improve from time to time.
Depression can also come on subtly. For instance, you could lose interest in things you used to enjoy, feel numb, or become more irritable, angry, or negative. It’s even common for some people to hide their feelings with forced happiness. This form, often referred to as “smiling depression,” comes with very high risks of self-harm and death by suicide.
Even if you think you have a reason for feeling down, you can still have depression. So you shouldn’t wait to get help and support, even if what you’re feeling seems temporary.
2. Lack of energy
Everyone struggles with fatigue from time to time. However, if it becomes persistent or severe, it could be a sign of depression, especially if you have other symptoms of the mood disorder.
Studies show that more than 90% of people living with depression also have fatigue or a lack of energy. If this sounds familiar, it could be time to see Dr. Malhotra.
3. Sleep disorders
Believe it or not, sleep and mood have an intimate link.
People with insomnia have a 10 times greater risk of developing depression than those who get enough quality sleep. Similarly, 75% of people with depression struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep each night.
Unfortunately, this can become a vicious cycle if sleep deprivation continues unchecked. And lack of sleep can also put you at risk of developing health complications beyond depression.
If you feel lethargic during the day or find quality sleep out of your reach, don’t ignore it.
4. Weight gain or loss
Have your eating habits or waistline changed lately? Called “comfort food,” people often turn to high fat, sweet, and starchy foods when they feel low. Not only can it feel good to eat these foods, but these foods can trigger hormonal changes that increase calm and decrease stress. However, it’s also common for people with depression to lose their appetite.
At the same time, carrying excess body fat also increases inflammation in the body, which can activate or exacerbate depression symptoms.
Weight and appetite changes can be especially easy to miss, because depression often develops gradually. So, it can be hard to catch even the smallest signs until one day you barely recognize yourself.
5. Aches, pains, and health problems
Finally, while depression involves a person’s mental health, it can take a toll on a sufferer’s physical health as well. In addition to sleep problems, fatigue, and weight changes, depression can also lead to physical issues, such as:
- Digestive problems
- Low libido
- Frequent headaches
- Chronic pain conditions
Depression can also involve substance use issues as well as memory and concentration problems that make it difficult to function.
If these symptoms sound familiar, Dr. Malhotra can help. Diagnosing depression at Central Clinic starts with a comprehensive neurological and physical exam. She also conducts a psychiatric evaluation, discusses your symptoms, and orders lab tests to look for underlying health conditions.
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Malhotra works closely with you to create a personalized treatment strategy. Managing depression can involve making lifestyle changes, managing stress, engaging in talk therapy, and taking medication.
Do you want to see if you have depression, or do you have it and want treatment? Get the help you need by calling 352-254-5649 or booking an appointment online with Central Clinic today.