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7 Surprising and Sneaky Signals of Depression

By Sandy Schroeder

Depression’s slow-moving sadness is fairly easy to spot, but there may be more surprising signs that we may fail to see, like irritability or an upset stomach.

"Depression doesn’t always look like debilitating sadness, but accurately identifying the problem is key to get treatment," says Richard Kravitz, MD, MSPH, University of California Davis.

See if these signs listed by Prevention look familiar.

Weight soars or takes a dive – When the day has been a disaster, it can be all too easy to call for pizza or load up on burgers and fries. A new study in Obesity says stress and depression make it hard to maintain a healthy weight. Others experiencing depression may drop weight as their appetite just disappears.

Ongoing pain – Researchers say 75 percent of people who are depressed are also having physical pain. They are more likely to have neck or lower back pain, headaches or stomachaches.  Researchers have found sad people expect pain and react more without being able to cope.

Numbness sets in – Zombie-like behavior is a red flag. Most of us have reasons to get up every day, but people who are depressed seem not to care at all. As they lose their ability to react, they may push loved ones away, just when they are most needed.

Wine or beer increases – Relaxing over a glass of wine at the end of a long day is a natural, but following up with a few more glasses may signal depression. Doctors say almost one-third of their depressed patients have an alcohol problem. As drinking increases, anxiety, sadness, and anger emerge, agitating interactions with others. The healthy limit is one drink per day for women and two for men.

Anger explodes – Something that might normally seem insignificant can easily become a big deal with a depressed person. Research shows 54 percent of people with depression are explosive, aggressive and easily angered. Going from depressed to infuriated can happen without warning.

Escape mechanisms set in – When someone repeatedly turns up on Facebook, or dives headlong into shopping or gambling, they may be depressed. Studies say people who are always online with little face-to-face contacts may be running from their feelings.

Grooming slides – When someone neglects their teeth, or stops combing their hair, they may be depressed. Psychologists say not caring about appearance sends a strong distress signal. Friends and family may be puzzled, or annoyed, not really understanding what is happening.

Note: If you are seeing these symptoms in someone near to you, help them get treatment with a doctor and a psychologist.

If the signs are rapidly increasing, take immediate steps to have them seen and treated. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Calif.

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