Depression is a mental disorder that can definitely sneak up on you. This is especially true if you have a mild, but long-lasting, disorder called dysthymia. You should make sure that you are careful to look out for mental distress if you fear that you have mild depression. You also need to do this if you have a family history of the disease. Around 50% of depression cases can be linked directly to family history. Feelings of unhappiness and sadness are two very common signs of the disorder. Less common signs may be less noticeable. Keep reading to learn about a few of the less not so obvious depression symptoms.
Many people will reach for a treat when they feel sad or depressed, and mood disorders are often linked with binge eating behaviors. Eating is often a way to self medicate or feel better. After all, food does make people happy. This is often simply due to the enjoyable tastes of food. Since sugary and fatty foods usually taste the best, the foods are eaten and the depressed person gains weight. Also, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the body when an individual binge eats. The chemical helps to relieve the negative feelings of depression and anxiety. If you binge eat or have been craving more sugary and fatty foods lately, then this may be a sign that you are depressed.
Although eating more is a sign of depression, so is eating less. If you have suddenly started to eat less during the day, then this may be a sign of a mood disorder. This is true if you eat fewer meals as well and have started to lose weight due to the reduction in calories. Your loss of appetite may be directly related to the levels of serotonin in your body. If you have depression, then you have less of the neurotransmitter in the body. The chemical is responsible for retaining a happy mood, and it also regulates hunger and appetite. For some, a lack of serotonin can increase appetite, for others, their appetite may decrease substantially. If you have less of an appetite, then your brain may not be receiving the proper messages through the release of serotonin.
If you see yourself as a perfectionist, then you may hold yourself to high standards when it comes to work, hobbies, child-rearing, cooking, and other activities. While you may see yourself as wanting to get everything right, being a perfectionist may be a sign that you have depression. This is especially true if you self-blame when you do not get something 100% perfect. Self blame, feelings of failure, anger, and irritation are all signs that you may have a problem with depression. If you typically see the negative in yourself when you do not live up to your high standards, this may not just be perfectionism.
People who are depressed will often exaggerate the negatives and minimize the positives. This can happen when reacting to an event or when analyzing a perceived failure. For example, a depressed person who fails an exam is likely to call themselves stupid. However, an emotionally stable person may consider whether the test was hard or if they simply did not study enough. If something positive does happen or if you do something to your standards, like passing a test with a perfect score, you may call yourself lucky or think the test was too easy.
If you think you are a perfectionist, then you should consider the way you feel and act after a failure or success. This can tell you a lot about your general emotional well-being. Also, think about whether or not people say that you are too hard on yourself. This might be an indication of an emotional issue too.
For more information and to seek help dealing with your depression, visit a psychologist in your area, like John Prosise Phd.