Most people know the typical signs of depression. They know that depression leads to hopeless, lack of energy, lack of interest in doing the things we once loved to do, shutting ourselves off from the world, feeling gloomy all the time and sometimes getting suicidal thoughts. However there are some signs that are surprising and not usually associated with depression; yet they are.
For some people impulse shopping in retail stores and on the internet can bring instant relief. Retail therapy can bring momentary joy and a boosted self esteem. However the temporary joy goes away and the old feelings of depression come back. Only now there is the added anxiety of paying the bills if the items were charged or finding that breaking the budget causes great anxiety and unneeded worry.
Excessive drinking can also provide a temporary feeling of joy “self medicating” but in the long run it is not an effective way to handle depression. Alcohol is a depressant and some people become even more moody and depressed when they are drinking. Drowning out your sorrows doesn’t work for very long.
According to Webmd, “Being depressed doubles your risk of smoking. Heavy smoking – more than a pack a day – and having a cigarette within 5 minutes of waking are common habits among smokers who are depressed, according to the CDC. While depressed smokers are less likely to quit; they can. Quitting programs that use techniques similar to those used to treat depression, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or antidepressant medications, seem to help.”
Apparently a third of people who suffer from depression turn to shoplifting. The reason for shoplifting in these cases are not necessarily the items lifted, but the thrill of shoplifting and the power or feeling of importance in getting away with it. This is the real joy in this reckless behavior.
Gambling too can provide a great rush of adrenaline. However, that quickly wears off and when depressed people gamble excessively they become even more depressed when they realize how much they have lost.
Being forgetful is not always age related, nor is it necessarily a symptom of alzheimer disease. It can be related to depression. Depression and stress can elevate the production of cortisol which can shrink the brain and affect our memory and our ability to learn. Depression linked memory loss worsens as we get older. Treating the depression can improve the memory.
One would not think that using the internet in this day and age would not be a sign of depression, but excessive internet use is. Spending all your time in virtual reality means that you are cutting off your real time social life. Like alcohol, excessive internet use is a form of drowning out your sorrows. Studies have shown that depressed people spend lots of time on games, social sites, or pornographic sites.
Obesity or binge eating
“A 2010 study from the University of Alabama found that young adults who report being depressed tended to gain weight more around their waist — a risk for heart disease. Other studies have linked depression with binge eating, particularly in middle-age people. Treating depression can help treat these problems.”
Not taking care of yourself
The signs of depression show through when the behavior is obvious such not taking a bath or shower when needed, not brushing you hair, or wearing clean clothes. However, not taking care of yourself can point to subtle behaviors such as not buckling your seat belt, reckless driving, not making or missing medical appointments, or letting the household chores pile up.
Who would think that back pain can be associated with depression. Back pain can put you at risk for depression and now studies are showing that people who are depressed were depressed before the back pain kicked in. Unfortunately, the depression is often ignored or goes undetected because the doctor’s are concentrating on the physical reasons for back pain.
Reckless sexual behavior
One would normally associate depression with a lower sex drive. Yet, the opposite can also be true. “Some people use sex to cope with depression or stress. Increased promiscuity, infidelity, sexual obsession, and high-risk behavior such as unsafe sex can all be signs of depression. And they can have serious, negative effects on health and in your personal life.”
Depressed people often have flat emotions. They appear to be numb or emotionless. However the depression can create extreme or exaggerated emotions and feelings of hopelessness, worry, sadness or fear. Oftentime the exaggerated moods will be a strong indicator that depression has set in.
Identifying the symptoms can facilitate treatment and public awareness about depression and its toll on humanity.