The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, globally, 5% of adults suffer from depression. The WHO also shares that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It occurs more often in women, and it can lead to suicide.1 Identifying signs of depression is the first step in treating depression. Unfortunately, many individuals become adept at hiding their symptoms and, for various reasons, aren't willing to disclose how they feel. Considering depression’s link to suicide, being aware of the signs of hidden depression that no one talks about can potentially save a loved one’s life.
What Is Hidden Depression?
Depression isn’t always obvious. As we previously mentioned, some people will purposely hide their symptoms from others, concealing the problem so well that the individual may scarcely recognize it themselves. Otherwise known as the silent mental illness or “smiling” depression, hidden depression is a type of depression in which the individual experiences the feelings associated with the disorder but can hide their symptoms.
Someone with hidden depression may seem content, happy, and productive, and their relationships at work and home may seem perfectly normal. Inwardly, however, the individual may internally struggle with symptoms that can affect their thoughts, feelings, and even physical health. As you can guess from the name, hidden depression is usually kept under wraps, which can be dangerous for the sufferer.
Perfectly hidden depression prevents an individual from reaching out to a mental health professional for care, which leaves an opportunity for symptoms to worsen. Additionally, a lack of intervention also increases the risk not only of drug and alcohol use for self-medicating but even for suicide. For these reasons, it’s important to stay alert and pay attention to your loved ones.
Hidden Depression Signs and Symptoms
One reason that depression can be difficult to recognize in some people is that symptoms tend to vary. You may already be familiar with typical symptoms of depression, such as sadness that lasts longer than 2 weeks, frequent crying, a drop in self-esteem, and loss of interest in things that were once important. However, other symptoms of depression that are typical of the condition can be more difficult to recognize, such as:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Frequent fatigue or lack of energy
- Irritability, grumpiness, or extra-sensitivity
- Loss of interest in sex
- Physical pain or gastrointestinal problems not related to other health problems
- Problems with attention, concentration, or memory
- Substance abuse
- Sudden weight gain, weight loss, or changes in appetite
If you believe that a loved one is possibly struggling with depression, it’s important to watch for any changes in behavior. What’s more, to begin treating depression, the signs of the condition must be identified. Hidden signs of depression to look out for include:
- Changes in sleep schedules: Sleep is a crucial component of quality physical and mental health. Sleep issues may indicate that something is amiss. Drastic changes in sleep may indicate the presence of depressive disorders.
- Anger problems: Depression is typically associated with a slowing or sadness, which is why anger is a secret sign of depression that people often miss. Unresolved trauma may contribute to depression, anger, or irritability and can be an underlying symptom of this mental health condition.
- Indecisiveness: Depression can lead to difficulty with decision-making. If you are suddenly experiencing indecisiveness and you’re generally a decisive person, there is likely something wrong.
- Personality changes: Someone living with hidden depression may become quieter if they were once outgoing or more pessimistic if they seemed to be more confident. On the other hand, they might become more outgoing if they were once quieter, possibly to compensate for how they’re feeling and in an attempt to prevent others from noticing.
- Major fluctuations in weight: Suddenly changing their eating habits – ranging from frequent binge eating to a disinterest in food – in response to emotional situations may indicate depression.
- Changes in sleeping habits: If you notice that the individual is suddenly sleeping more throughout the day or is having trouble sleeping, they may be struggling with their mental health.
- Changes in social interactions: Similar to changes in sleep and eating patterns, a person with hidden depression may also change how they interact with people. Someone once outgoing in social situations may become very reserved and serious, while someone who previously was introverted with others might even become the “life of the party.”
If you notice any hidden depression symptoms or believe that a loved one is struggling with their mental health, don’t wait to act. Multiple Banyan rehab locations offer treatment for a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and more. Let us help you or a loved one start the recovery process.
Hidden Depression Treatment at Banyan
People can hide their depression, and they may do so for various reasons. In some cases, the condition took over so gradually that the individual didn’t even notice. Others don’t trust doctors or are afraid of what will happen to them if they start to open up. People are also embarrassed, afraid of taking medication, or feel like they’ll become a burden to loved ones.
For those who can relate to these feelings, we want you to know that you matter and your feelings do, too. If you’re struggling with your mental health, we’re here to help you. With multiple mental health and addiction treatment facilities nationwide, Banyan Treatment Centers can help individuals from all corners of the country overcome their psychiatric disorders.
For more information about our adult mental health services or eating disorder program, call us today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information, and one of our admission specialists will reach out to you.
- WHO – Depression
- NPR – If You’re Often Angry Or Irritable, You May Be Depressed
- NCBI – Decision-Making and Depressive Symptomology