According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), depression is a mental disorder marked by sadness, isolation or despair that lasts for a long time. People with depression don’t just feel the sadness we all feel every now and then. It’s much darker and harder to deal with.
Statistics show that 6.7 percent of the US population is affected by depression. That’s 15 million people—and it’s only an estimate reported by the National Institute of Mental Health. The real numbers could be much bigger, seeing as most people don’t get the treatment they need to manage their depression.
On top of that, people with depression still have to work, go to school, and deal with the stress of daily life. Because of this, they might develop habits that are only typical of people trying to conceal depression.
Please don’t diagnose others or yourself just from reading this list. Depression is a combination of complex physical and mental symptoms. You should consult a registered psychologist if you think you have depression.
1. Drastic changes in eating. One of the symptoms of depression is a disturbance in appetite. So if someone stops eating when they used to do it all the time, or if they start binge eating when they used to eat healthily, this could be a red flag.
2. Sudden changes in sleeping habits. The person dealing with not enough sleep or too much sleep might look constantly exhausted. Not everyone who has depression deals with this, but it’s a common symptom.
3. Easily irritable, angry or upset. A person with depression might not realize that they’re doing this. Their reactions to small amounts of stress can be to get irritated quickly when there’s no need to.
4. Change in productivity. Another symptom of depression is a diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate in everyday tasks. Someone with depression might start making a lot of mistakes that they never made before.
5. No social life. A depressed person might still manage to go to work and school because they have to, so they cancel everything that isn’t absolutely necessary (including social events).
6. They have a hard time responding to emotions. Depression is more than feeling sad, it’s an inability to feel anything the way you’re supposed to. Someone who is depressed might feel numb and unable to reciprocate happy, positive feelings during an interaction.
7. They constantly put themselves down. We all joke about ourselves every now and then. A depressed person feels so worthless and disposable that they only have negative things to say about themselves.
8. They view the world through “black tinted” glasses. Depressed people are seeing the world with a negative bias, so their point of view on a lot of things (work success, romance, parenthood, death) might seem darker and more “negative.”