Depression isn’t much of a showman. It’s more subtle and quiet – slipping in unbeknownst, making a comfortable spot for itself, and sinking in for a long stay. It can even be difficult for the person with symptoms of depression to realize they are host to a powerful, yet elusive guest.

Austin Therapy

photo credit: Mark Weatherford

While it can take on many forms, depression has a number of common threads that friends and family of those that are suffering can identify, and provide some support and help. In a recent post, Psyblog outlines 10 common signs of depression that can range from mild to severe.

1. Feelings of sadness or and anxiety: some combination of these negative feelings usually lingers for more than a two weeks

2. Lack of motivation: a general loss of interest in things a person used to find enjoyable – anything from a loss of sex drive, diminished enthusiasm about work, and pulling away from social scenarios or hobbies

3. Low energy: normal daily tasks become too tiring including: chores fall by the wayside, normal speech slows, or there are unexplained aches and pains

4. Disrupted sleep patterns: difficulty getting to sleep and waking frequently in the night

5. Poor concentration: difficult decision making and persistent negative thoughts, often leading to feelings of restlessness and listlessness

6. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness: feeling empty and sometimes out of control

7. Weight change: can either be a weight loss or gain

8. Thoughts of death: fixated on the idea of death, and sometimes thoughts of self-harm or suicide

9. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt: self-blame, lowered self-esteem and apologetic tendencies

10. Self-medication: more frequent use of alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs

Due to the slow-and-steady nature of depression, not all of these signs may be obvious in those suffering, and can have varying degrees of impact. Depression can also be classified from moderate to severe, making it more or less tolerable in day-to-day life. Those with moderate to severe depression are less likely to recover on their own, without the help of counseling.

Therapy can help manage the symptoms of depression as well as uncover the root causes so that the victim is less likely to relapse. Medication can help, but is controversial and often perceived as a Band-Aid for the underlying issue.

If you begin to sense any of the above behaviors or thoughts in someone close to you, broaching the idea of therapy may help bring them back from a difficult and painful situation. Depression is often a poisonous and uninvited guest, but by understanding some of the discreet signs, it doesn’t have to stay for long.