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Lesser Known Signs of Depression

Depression is a major risk factor for addiction. It’s common for people suffering with depression to try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, leading to addiction. Getting treatment for addiction requires treatment for the depression too. Anyone suffering from both depression and addiction should find a treatment center that can address both for the best chance at recovery.

Surprisingly, not everyone with depression knows she’s depressed. While depression is typically associated with sadness, sadness is not always a symptom of depression. Also, many people lead apparently normal lives while feeling depressed and consequently never get treatment. Here are some of the lesser known symptoms of depression.

Physical pain.

Everyone associates depression with emotional pain, but physical pain is also a common symptom. This could be aches in the body, or frequent headaches. This is probably a result of the inflammation associated with depression. The aches you experience with depression are similar to those you experience when you have the flu. It’s your body’s way of telling you to sit down and conserve energy so you can fight the virus, only you don’t have a virus.

Disturbed sleep.

Most people are aware that people suffering from depression tend to sleep a lot. However, it’s also common for them to not sleep enough or to sleep badly. This may manifest as difficulty falling asleep or waking up at four o’clock every morning with a feeling of dread. Either way, bad sleep only makes depression worse and has been linked to more suicidal thoughts the next day.

Slow movements.

This is a phenomenon called psychomotor retardation. It’s likely related to aches associated with inflammation. This is when you feel like you’re moving through water. You just can’t seem to operate at a normal speed. Again, this is likely a strategy to save energy to fight a virus you don’t have.

Dramatic weight fluctuations.

There may be several things going on here. One is that your body believes you’re sick and decreases your appetite so you don’t waste energy on digestion. So you may have a weak appetite for a long time, leading to weight loss. On the other hand, you may be hungry for carbs, especially sugar, because your sleep has been disturbed. Depression has also been associated with obesity, and as with addiction, the causation seems to go both ways. Also, if you are depressed, you are less willing to exercise and stick to a diet, which may lead to weight gain.


Most people recognize sadness as a symptom of depression, but anger and irritability are also common. If you already feel bad and are likely to interpret things negatively, you are more likely to react with anger, even when it isn’t’ warranted. Anger is more common in men, and someone who is depressed may overreact to a small annoyance and stay angry for a long time.

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