Major depressive disorder, often called depression, is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting more than 17 million people, which is a little more than 7% of the adult population. Unfortunately, thanks to the stigma surrounding the disorder and lack of general knowledge, many sufferers aren’t getting the life-changing, and even life-saving, treatments they need.
Here at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates in North Chelmsford, MA, our team of caring and highly-trained mental health providers understands the isolation and frustration that comes with dealing with depression. To help our patients better understand depression, we’ve pulled together five symptoms of depression that aren’t commonly known.
Armed with this information, we hope that you can get the help you or your loved one needs, which we provide here at our offices.
1. A change in sleep patterns
If you or a loved one starts prowling the house during the night and sleeping during the day, this change in sleeping habits may be an indicator of depression. Many people with depression shy away from the “glare” of the daylight hours, feeling more comfortable under the cover of darkness. In many cases, this means that you aren’t getting the restorative sleep you need, which only serves to exacerbate the problem.
2. Put on a happy face
If you feel that you have to increasingly put on a happy face to interact with the world, forcing a smile when you feel anything but cheerful, this may be a sign of depression. We bring up this fact more for identifying depression in others, however. If you have depression, you recognize your feelings of unhappiness, but spotting it in others is trickier. Observe your loved one, and if the moment they think no one is looking they return to a less-than-happy look, they may be hiding depression.
3. Negative thinking versus thoughtfulness
If you or a loved one starts questioning the world around you in a negative light, this can be a sign of depression. Philosophizing about the futility of it all, questioning one’s existence, contemplating death more regularly — these are all negative thoughts that could signal depression.
4. Making excuses
If you or a loved one is increasingly making excuses to get out of school, work, or social events, this tendency toward isolation points toward depression. Sure, everyone wants to play hooky every once in a while, usually for something fun, but skipping out on “life” just to stay home by yourself isn’t the same thing.
5. The physical side
While depression is a mental disorder, it can manifest itself in general aches and pains with no physical cause. If you greet each day with a body that complains, and there’s no physical reason for the discomfort, you may be dealing with depression.
If you suspect you or a loved one might be suffering from depression, we want to emphasize that we offer highly effective treatments that break the cycle of this mental disorder. One such treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which stimulates mood-regulating areas of your brain that may have gone dormant. We use the cutting-edge CloudTMS™ system.
Other options that may be used individually or in combination with TMS and one another, include:
- Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Nutritional and lifestyle changes
If you have more questions about depression or our treatments, please call one of our offices or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.