Depression affects different people in different ways. Simply feeling low is not the only symptom, nor is it enough in itself to warrant a diagnosis of depression.
Consequently, there are lots of symptoms that you might experience that, by themselves, seem insignificant. But in fact, these can be signs of depression that often go unnoticed.
Changes in appetite
A common sign of depression is a change in appetite. Depression is a physiological condition as much as a mental one, and sufferers often experience a transformation in their relationship with food.
Typically this manifests as a loss of appetite which, in turn, leads to significant and noticeable weight loss. But the opposite is also true: those with depression might find some comfort or distraction in eating, causing weight gain.
This symptom is often written off as something else. A sufferer might say they’re “just not feeling hungry”, for example. But sudden, sustained or noticeable changes in weight can be symptoms of depression, and it should be considered as a possible diagnosis.
Loss of libido
Another physical sign of depression that many people dismiss as symptomatic of something else is a reduced libido or lack of interest in sex.
If you are not sexually active this might be harder to spot. However, if you’re in a relationship it is more noticeable. A sufferer might pass this off as a lack of sexual desire for their partner, or as a result of the stresses of work.
Unfortunately, a loss of libido is something many people are reluctant to talk about. Reduced interest in sex is often seen as an embarrassment, and men, in particular, are too uneasy to discuss this with their doctor. But the first step towards recovery is discussion, and it’s important to talk about such a symptom openly and honestly with a qualified medical professional.
Increased apathy or loss of interest in activities
Another sign of depression is a loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. For example, you might respond to an invitation to the cinema with apathy, where in the past you would have jumped at the chance to see a film with friends.
This symptom is often noticed by a sufferer’s friends and family before themselves. Perhaps a friend who was previously talkative and social is now quiet and introverted, and only someone who knows them notices it. Sudden shyness is also a symptom of performance anxiety, which in turn can be a precursor to depression.<