When most people think of depression, they often think of someone who appears sad all the time. While sadness can certainly be a sign of depression, what many people don’t realize is that it isn’t the only symptom that may be present. In fact, some people with clinical depression don’t appear outwardly sad at all. Because the signs and symptoms of depression can be so varied and nuanced, understanding and recognizing clinical depression can be difficult.
What to Look for: Symptoms of Depression
Although it’s normal and even healthy to feel sad or depressed occasionally, depression becomes a mental health concern when these feelings of sadness, hopelessness or loneliness begin to interfere with a person’s daily life. While you may notice yourself or a loved one acting aloof or disinterested in life, other signs of depression can be much less noticeable. These can include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, persistent aches and pains, insomnia and changes in appetite.
Recognizing Depression in Children
While some of the common signs of depression can be hard to notice in adults, they can be even more difficult to see in children. This is primarily because children can often have trouble putting into words how they are feeling, and many of the signs of childhood depression are often mistaken for bad behavior. Because of the difficulty of discerning mere “acting out” from childhood depression, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all children are screened for depression annually.
If left unnoticed and untreated, clinical depression can worsen and lead to other health concerns. That’s why being able to recognize its symptoms in either yourself or your loved ones is such a crucial first step to getting help. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of clinical depression, outpatient treatment programs can be great resources.