Someone suffering from depression is very sad, hopeless and withdrawn from their old interests. At least, that is what most of us think of when we imagine depression.
But as those who are living with depression and their loved ones know, there are other possible signs of this form of mental illness. Prolonged sadness may be the most well-known symptom, but depression often causes other symptoms and behaviors.
For example, many depression patients will externalize their condition. They may engage in risky behavior like excessive drinking or cheating on their spouse or partner. Physical pain, fatigue or reduced sex drive can also be indirect signs of depression.
Sometimes, depression turns into irritability or anger. This can indicate a more severe form of the illness. Anger and lashing out at others may be covering up feelings of persistent sadness or helplessness, which even the sufferer may not realize at first.
Other perhaps surprising potential signs of depression include perfectionism, trouble concentrating, guilt and focusing excessively on the negative.
As we mentioned above, some depressed people self-medicate using alcohol. An increasing use of alcohol or other substances may be a sign you are trying to treat depression — in an ultimately destructive way.
What to do if you or someone you know is displaying one of these behaviors? Several different treatments for depression are available, and no one treatment works for everybody. Seeking help from a psychologist is the first step toward recovery. It may be a long road, and in severe cases it may be impossible to work, at least for a while.