Ways to Detect the Subtle Signs of Depression

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder- Personal Mastery


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We have the impression of a depressed person having a visible sign of sadness on their face. Surprisingly, depression does not always seem like the perceived way. A person with a happy face would be having a heavy heart and the closest people to that person would not be able to recognize what they are going through.

Generally, prolonged sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest are the most commonly discussed symptoms of depression. We have seen the ads that represent a depressed person crying over heartbreak but hardly have we understood that depression is a silent cry. The tears are not seen on the outside but inside the person is shattered.

People suffering from depression must seek help from the NLP professional as they are not always comfortable speaking their hearts out to someone they know. So, it’s better to put your trust in someone expert in understanding your mental health.

Some subtle signs of depression

Here are some least-known symptoms of depression that are hard to identify.

Symptoms that people externalize

Sometimes, depression can be observed in people’s behavior and body language. In other words, we can say that it will be out in one way or the other if you would not let it acknowledged in straight ways.

In some ways, you can see people are depressed when their relations start getting affected by their behavior. They just try to externalize their depression. It is a symptom that is most generally seen in men. According to some psychologists, people who get into excessive drinking habits, have extra affairs, are aggressive, or start maintaining distance from their loved ones are most likely to have depression.

Also, you might observe some physical signs in your partner, for instance, body ache or low sex drive which are generally the reason for depression as they are externalized symptoms. People who are always seemed tired might be considered as depressed. However, there could be another reason as well but one should get it checked and treat them accordingly.

Sometimes people with bad sleeping patterns or lethargy are also considered to be depressed as their lack of interest in other things lowers their energy levels and they also develop bad eating habits.

Lash out at others

Lashing out at people is also an extended symptom of externalizing emotions but it should be something highlighted specifically as it is a prominent symptom of depression which is often confused with anger issues. Lashing out is assumed to be a severe form of depression. People sometimes get furious and easily irritated at small things.

Depression makes us vulnerable to the situations that trigger our emotions, especially the negative ones. When we feel helpless, it is quite easy to lash out at others, it is the form of expressing the loss we are experiencing inside us.

In the words of Kolakowski, “Experiencing irritability, hostility, anger, and being sensitive to rejection are all common symptoms when depressed”.

Lashing out is just what people see but inside there is the extremity of emotions like helplessness, shame, irritability, and sadness which nobody is able to notice; only the sufferer knows what they are going through. If you also keep lashing out at your partner or kids without any reason, you must take some time to observe yourself and notice the internal things driving your irritability or anger.


Some psychologists connect depression and perfectionism and believe that both of these go hand in hand. Some people have very high expectations of themselves which makes them fall into depression. The habit of perfectionism is the root cause of this; when people try to have everything but fail to achieve it, the trauma makes them depressed.

Also, perfectionism makes acceptance hard for others as they are into the habit of accepting only those who are completely perfect. The connecting link between perfectionism and depression is self-esteem. People with high self-esteem think that they are only able to be loved when they are perfect and also they accept the love of only those who seem perfect to them. And when they fail to achieve that perfectionism in themselves or others, it makes them depressed.

People fail to understand in perfectionism that making mistakes is just a human trait and not a permanent flaw in others. Everybody makes mistakes at some point that does not make them a bad human, it could be the result of their ignorance or just a coincidence.

Rather than blaming yourself or others for every possible mistake, there should be the practice of acceptance so that people overcome the shame and the fear of failure. It is definitely not an easy thing to learn but it is worth learning to make your life and to grow mentally.

Weak concentration

Concentration is not that big a problem especially when you are working or studying. Our attention easily gets diverted when we are thinking of something else while doing a task. But when it is extreme it may affect personal life and relations. Depressed people also have the inability to concentrate and it is an underlying symptom that is not commonly observed.

People who suffer from depression often experience sadness or feel worthless. They also hide it from others as it is hard to express and explain the reasons for them. The concentration problem affects the functioning of the brain and working people feel hard to work and students feel it tough to study. Overthinking is what makes things worse.

You can recognize that your close one is depressed when they keep on repeating the past incidents or future worries. They don’t about anything positive but the traumas are always on their mind and they fail at mindfulness. However, it is not something that is permanent, they can be treated with the right guidance and coaching.

Feeling guilt or shame

Guilt is not something rare, we all feel guilt or shame at times but extreme guilt is a sign of depression. People get depressed because the guilt consumes their minds and they keep on thinking about the moments that made them feel guilt or shame. The series of events in which they failed miserably is the only thing that surrounds their mind and they fail to overcome that trauma.

When it goes to the extreme, the depressed people start feeling guilty about their being in the world and being depressed. They feel ashamed of failing at relations and being unable to play the role they were supposed to excel at, for instance, being a good daughter/son, husband/wife, or a parent.

Some of the lesser-known causes of depression

We have read about the unknown symptoms of depression. Let’s read what causes depression other than the common things.


Hypothyroidism can also become the reason for depression. In this case, an excessive hormone is produced in the body by the thyroid gland which often results in an increase or loss in weight, hair fall, and depression. But it can be treated with the right kind of medication.

Smoking habits

Smoking has very negative impacts on your body and other than that it affects your mental health badly. Nicotine is not only bad for your body but it is also believed to increase anxiety and provides discomfort to the brain as well. Other than that people who smoke a lot are observed to have very erratic mood swings and fall into a state of depression very easily.


When someone is taking too many medicines for one or the other issue in the body, they might get the problem of depression. Some medications have the side effect of depressing the mind of the person. The regular intake of medicines used for the treatment of blood pressure, insomnia, menopause, and acne can give rise to bad mental health without you being aware of that.

Deficiency of omega-3

A balanced diet is a must for a healthy mind and body. However, Omega-3 is quite a necessary nutrient that helps in building healthy brain tissues and releasing happy hormones in the body. People with a deficiency of omega-3 in their bodies are more prone to get depression. But you can treat it timely by consuming fibre like chia seeds, flax seeds, seaweed, and using mustard oil in your food items.


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