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What Is Hidden Depression? Symptoms, Risks And How To Recognize It In A Person

Depression, one of the most common mental health disorders, does not just affect your mind but also your body. Not all cases of depression are obvious, that is, while for some people the symptoms are external, while for some people, mental health experts say go great lengths to hide their symptoms around other people [1].

The hiding of symptoms by the person suffering from the condition is so well masked that they fail to recognise them, often worsening the condition due to the lack of timely expert intervention.

Hidden depression is also called smiling depression, as a person suffering from the condition could be happy, smiling and content. But within their minds, the depression could be eating them up, without them or you realise it.

What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Depression?

So, how can you recognise hidden depression? Can you help someone with hidden depression? Let's take a look.

Note: Never self-diagnose yourself of any health issues - be it mental or physical.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hidden Depression?

The symptoms of hidden depression can vary from one person to the other, and in a major way. The common symptoms of hidden depression are as follows [2]:

  • Frequent crying and despair
  • Lack of self-esteem or a drop in it
  • Lack of interest in doing favourite activities
  • Sadness that persists for more than 2 weeks
  • Some of the ‘hidden' symptoms of hidden depression are as follows, these are not easier to be recognised with depression symptoms, as they could be an indication of any other health issue as well [3]:

    • Changes in sleep patterns
    • Fatigue and lack of energy
    • Change in appetite, sudden weight gain or weight loss
    • Irritability, extra-sensitiveness or anger
    • Feeling of hopelessness
    • Lack of concentration and memory issues
    • Loss of interest in sex
    • An increase in substance use
    • Physical pain
    • Gastrointestinal issues
    • Turmeric For Depression: Does It Help Ease The Symptoms? How To Use

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How To Recognise Hidden Depression?

Observing the symptoms can help understand if a person is suffering from hidden depression [4]. That is, when the symptoms do not go away even after two weeks, it is time to get professional help.

Here is how you can recognise hidden depression in your loved ones:

1. Personality changes: They may begin to act differently, not just being sad, but a difference in the way they behave towards everyone. For example, an outgoing person can suddenly become aloof, or an optimistic person suddenly becomes pessimistic [5].

2. Substance use: Not just an extra cigarette or two extra glasses of alcohol, but a major change such that it interferes with their jobs and daily life.

3. Changes in sleeping habits: The person may sleep for longer than usual, stay awake for longer periods and avoid sleep time.

4. Becoming more philosophical: A person with hidden depression may suddenly start becoming more serious, talk about things from a philosophical perspective, and initiate conversations that are deep and dark [6].

5. Weight gain or loss: This is not a healthy weight gain or loss, as the person may suddenly change their eating habits, showing no interest in food or eating excessively as a response to emotional troubles [7].

Some of the other ways you can identify hidden depression are as follows [8]:

  • Negative self-talk
  • Disliking or giving up favourite hobbies
  • A change in productivity levels
  • A change in social interactions
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Who Is At Risk Of Hidden Depression?

Experts point out that depression can be hidden in the following groups of people [9]:

  • Children and teenagers
  • Older adults
  • Men [10]
  • People with chronic illnesses
  • People from marginalised societies
  • People recovering from any traumatic experience
  • How To Approach Someone With Hidden Depression?

    Unlike externally visible depression, people with hidden depression try their best to hide the symptoms so that others do not recognise it; therefore, they will be more sceptical and may even react angrily to someone asking them questions regarding their change of behaviour and activities.

    Here are some expert-approved ways you can approach someone with hidden depression [11]:

    • Avoid motivational talks, as it most often backfires.
    • Listen to them, if they are willing to share, without judgement (do not interrupt their train of thoughts).
    • Ask questions that show you care.
    • Try to share time doing activities that the person has an interest in [12].
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What Are The Risks Of Hidden Depression?

While understanding and accepting that you need help can be quite difficult. However, you must get professional help because the longer the depression remains undiagnosed and therefore untreated, the worse symptoms become and the harder they are to treat.

The risks of untreated depression are as follows [13]:

  • Risk of suicide
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
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On A Final Note...

People can hide their sorrow and depression for many reasons. It can be to ‘protect' your loved ones, it can be due to lack of faith in the medical system, or it can be due to social stigma. If you or your loved ones are suffering from any mental health difficulties, please consult a professional.

Mental Health Helpline Numbers

1. COOJ Mental Health Foundation (COOJ)- Helpline: 0832-2252525 | 01:00 PM - 07:00 PM (Monday to Friday)

2. Parivarthan- Helpline: +91 7676 602 602 | 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Monday to Friday)

3. Connecting Trust- Helpline: +91 992 200 1122 | +91-992 200 4305 | 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM (All days of the week)

4. Roshni Trust- Helpline: 040-66202000, 040-66202001 | 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)

5. Sahai Helpline: 080-25497777 / Email at - SAHAIHELPLINE@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM- 8 PM (Monday to Saturday)

6. Sumaitri: 011-23389090 / FEELINGSUICIDAL@SUMAITRI.NET |2 PM- 10 PM (Monday To Friday); 10 AM - 10 PM (Saturday and Sunday)

7. Sneha: 044-24640050 (24 HOURS) / 044-24640060 | Email at- HELP@SNEHAINDIA.ORG |8 AM - 10 PM

8. Lifeline: 033-24637401 / 033-24637432 | Email at LIFELINEKOLKATA@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM - 6 PM

---Help is out there---