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Depression Symptoms Can Be Subtle: Watch for These

By Paul Rothbart

Depression is a major health problem and the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15-44. In fact, 20 percent of the population will be affected by mental health issues at some point in their lives. Of those, only a third seek and receive treatment. Depression comes in many forms. It's not always the deep, clinical depression that comes with suicidal thoughts. Given that everybody feels a little down from time to time, it can be very easy to miss the subtle signs of depression. Here are some signs to watch for.

Lethargy and Disinterest

Many people work hard and are busy. Naturally, they feel fatigued. But if you have a general feeling of lethargy, even on a day when you're not busy, that is a sign of depression. Often it's a feeling of not wanting to do anything but sit or lie around the house, perhaps napping. It is generally accompanied by a lack of interest in things that you normally enjoy, such as socializing, going out to eat, or engaging in your favorite hobbies. Pay heed to this sign, especially if it's continual.

Abnormal Sleep

Changes in sleep patterns are another common sign of depression. This can go either way. You may have trouble sleeping at night, lying awake for hours, or waking up frequently. It may also manifest as sleeping way too much. People who are depressed often nap for several hours even after sleeping all night. If you are stuck in a sleep cycle that isn't typical, seek help.

Weight and Appetite Changes

Depression can also affect the appetite which can cause weight changes. As with sleep, this can go to either extreme. You may find that your appetite has diminished and you eat much less, causing you to lose weight, even if you're not trying to. Some people eat to fill the void depression causes and gain weight. A sure sign is constant binge eating even when you're not hungry. 

Muscle Pain and Headaches

Depression can also impact the body. It creates stress which may cause frequent headaches. Pain in the muscles and joints that occurs even if you have overworked or injured them is another common sign of depression. Don't ignore this sign or try to make it go away with painkillers. That can make things much worse.

Depression is common among people of all ages. It is debilitating and can destroy quality of life as well as cause major health problems. The signs are not always obvious and must be scrutinized carefully. If you frequently experience any of these symptoms, seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bothell, Wash.

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