Curejoy Expert Dipti Mothay Explains:
Depression is a common but serious illness. Depression is a pervasive feeling of intense sadness and relentless sense of despair. A lack of interest in life accompanied by weight loss, loss of appetite, feelings of uselessness and sleep disturbance are some of the more common symptoms.
Depressed people can express themselves in various ways. However, people suffering from concealed depression are conditioned to deal with their inner thoughts and emotions in a way that does not make them visible. They are accustomed to hiding their problems and fight their demons internally .
People with concealed depression will be hesitant to talk about their depression symptoms with others, not even to their primary care physicians. According to studies, the reasons why adults might not talk with their primary care physicians about their depression symptoms are numerous :
- the belief that a primary care physician is an inappropriate source of care for emotional problems
- uncertainty about how to raise the topic of depression
- aversion to antidepressant medications and psychotherapy
- stigma stemming from either a diagnosis of depression or psychiatric treatment
- loss of emotional control; and reluctance to discuss personal issues
Signs of Concealed Depression
Concealing symptoms of depression has several consequences. The most obvious reason is that the depression remains untreated. However, the act of concealing symptoms also leads to decreased psychological well-being and physical health. Some common signs you are suffering from concealed depression are as follows:
Hiding your Feelings
A person with concealed depression may seem exponentially happy. Those who live with depression sometimes conceal their condition to protect themselves and people around them. In a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that most people suffering from concealed depression had an outgoing, agreeable, and extroverted personality .
Sleep disorders are core symptoms of depression. Study suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), un-refreshing sleep and daytime sleepiness .
Abnormal Eating Habits
A change in appetite and abnormal eating habits is another symptom for concealed depression. According to studies, dieters ate more when depressed than when non-depressed, and non-dieters ate less when depressed than when non-depressed .
Inability to Focus and Remember
Problems with focusing and remembering are classic symptoms of depression. Research has suggested that individuals who are depressed are more prone to suffer from memory loss . Depression has also been linked with an increase in risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease .
Research also suggests that depressed individuals are more likely to have a negative self-image due to a tendency to amplify negative experiences while finding it difficult to recall or endorse positive experiences . Negative self image also has a direct impact on every day social behavior – with such individuals coming across as socially “awkward”. Concealed depression could be one of the causes.
- What Is Depression?, National Institute of Mental Health, http://www.nimh.nih.gov
- Bell R. et al., Suffering in Silence: Reasons for Not Disclosing Depression in Primary Care, Annals Of Family Medicine, 2011 Sep
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- Hickie I. et al., Reduced hippocampal volumes and memory loss in patients with early- and late-onset depression, The British Journal of Psychiatry, Feb 2005
- Modrego, Pedro J., and Jaime Ferrández, Depression in patients with mild cognitive impairment increases the risk of developing dementia of Alzheimer type: a prospective cohort study, Archives of Neurology 61.8, 2004
Dozois, David JA, and Keith S. Dobson, Information processing and cognitive organization in unipolar depression: specificity and comorbidity issues, Journal of abnormal psychology 110.2, 2001