Hey there Psych2Goers, this is a disclaimer that this article is for informative purposes only. It it is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you’re struggling, please reach out to a healthcare provider, or mental health professional for help.
When we think of depression, we tend to think of the typical symptoms: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure, etc. What you may not know is that depression has several other signs that are less talked about. From increased forgetfulness, aches and pains, to even vision problems, depression affects us far more than we may think. To better understand some of these lesser known signs, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at seven signs of depression you haven’t heard of.
Please note that correlation is not always causation. Any problems regarding your physical health, especially ones that affect your ability to live a normal life, should be addressed by your healthcare provider as they may be signs of additional health issues.
1. You Experience Unexpected Aches and Pains
While we tend to think of depression as emotionally and mentally painful, it actually can manifest itself physically as well. People with depression often report various aches and pains, mostly in the back and neck area. Although, stomach pains and headaches are possible as well. It is generally believed that depression interferes with the body’s inflammatory response, causing these various ailments (Fraga 2019).
2. You Are Forgetful
Depression can surprisingly affect our memories in drastic ways. People, especially with more severe forms, may have difficulties with short term memory as well as struggle with concentration and brain fog. More shockingly, they may have difficulties recalling life events and mix up certain events with others; their memories blend together. These issues may even occur after treatment (Klein 2020).
3. You Have Increased Vision Problems
If you have depression, you may notice that the world looks more hazy than it should. A particular study from the University of Freiburg show that depressed patients have increased difficulties with contrast perception. Patients with depression have a harder time differentiating black from white, in turn, this leads to a grayer, hazy looking environment. This is due to the dramatically lower retinal activity that depressed patients tend to have. The severity of this appears to be related to the severity of the depression (Harvard 2010).
4. You Sleep Too Much or Too Little
Depression can bring serious changes to your sleep schedule. You may find yourself sleeping way too much, or, maybe not at all. A proper sleep schedule directly impacts our ability to function, so having issues with this leads to problems in other areas. Sleeping too much or too little can cause fatigue throughout the day – that’s right, sleeping too much can make you feel tired. Additionally, some people tend to struggle more with sleep apnea within their depression which can impact their ability to achieve the proper amount of REM sleep (Cleveland Clinic 2020).
5. You Have Reduced Sexual Desire
With depression, it is possible to lose your libido. The increased fatigue, pain, and general loss of pleasure can take a toll on this sensitive area, making you less interested. Instances of reduced sexual desire are usually temporary, meaning they can come and go depending on your current situation. However, you should seek medical advice if this is long-term and doesn’t improve with treatment, as it can be a sign of hormonal issues (Payne 2020).
6. You Have Increased Risk and Symptoms of Other Conditions
Having depression can increase your risk for other conditions as well as worsen symptoms of diagnosed conditions. Since the immune system is impacted, you may be more susceptible to infection. In other cases, having depression can increase your risk of developing other conditions down the road. Such issues include: arthritis, heart problems, and strokes among many others. With stress hormones interfering with your body’s ability to heal itself, symptoms of other physical conditions may increase (Stuart 2009).
7. You Experience Digestive Problems
As mentioned before, depression can cause you to have unexplained aches and pains. Part of this includes stomach cramps and bloating. This all again relates back to the body’s inflammatory response. However, digestive problems can go beyond pain and may include bathroom problems. It’s possible to have increased irregularity, and in some cases, instances of diarrhea. Eating well and taking probiotics may offer some benefit, but treating the underlying depression itself can help tremendously (Fraga 2019).
While we tend to think of Depression as something that affects our emotions, research has shown that this is not always the case. Depression not only affects us emotionally, but in some cases physically as well. It’s important to reach out if you’re struggling. Getting in contact with the right mental health professional can be a great first step to getting your life back on track. What do you think about the matter? Are there any more signs that you can think of? Let us know in the comments!
Want to learn more about depression? We have an entire archive dedicated to the subject!
- Cleveland Clinic. (2020, October 16). What You Should Know About the Relationship Between Oversleeping and Depression. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-you-should-know-about-the-relationship-between-oversleeping-and-depression/
- Fraga, J. (2019, August 15). 7 Physical Symptoms That Prove Depression Is Not Just ‘In Your Head.’ Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/physical-symptoms-of-depression#Pain-is-another-way-your-brain-communicates
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2010, November). The Quirky Brain: How depression may alter visual perception. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-quirky-brain-how-depression-may-alter-visual-perception
- Higuera, V. (2020, February 11). Everything You Want to Know About Depression. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression#symptoms
- Kati Morton. (2020, October 12). 7 Signs Of Depression You Haven’t Heard Of [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fKZyXRUF_4&ab_channel=KatiMorton
- Payne, L. (2020). Low Sex Drive — Could It Be a Sign of Depression? HopkinsMedicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/low-sex-drive-could-it-be-a-sign-of-depression
- Rethink. (2020). What are the signs and symptoms of depression. Rethink.Org. https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-conditions/depression/
- Stuart, A. (2009, July 8). How Depression Affects Your Body. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/depression/how-depression-affects-your-body#2
- Villines, Z. (2020, July 22). Are depression and memory loss connected? MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-and-memory-loss