How Do You Know If You Have Depression: 11 Hidden Signs and How to Manage Them

Updated December 12, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

A person may experience sadness and purposely choose to hide it from others, or they may not realize they are experiencing depression. While it’s common for people to feel sad with depression, there are other less obvious signs people often overlook. If you think you may be experiencing depression, paying attention to the signs and being aware of what you’re feeling is essential. A licensed therapist can also help you navigate your depression diagnosis and management. 

Noticing The Hidden Signs Of Depression In Your Life?

What Are The Hidden Signs Of Depression?

One way to help establish if you are experiencing depression is by assessing your daily activities to determine if symptoms of depression affect your ability to complete tasks and interact with others. Mental health experts recognize the following signs as possible symptoms of hidden depression:

  1. Difficulty Concentrating

Lately, have you experienced difficulty completing regular tasks due to a lack of focus? A common symptom of depression is the inability to focus or concentrate. It may be challenging to stay focused on a task or you may lose your train of thought while having a conversation. A study suggests someone can experience a more challenging social and work life due to depression, along with concentration and memory issues.

  1. Changes In Sleep Patterns

Are you having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most of the night? The amount of sleep you get affects your mood. It can help explain why some people express a grumpy or cranky mood when they don’t get enough sleep. Depression can make it difficult for a person to get restful sleep. Many people experiencing sleep problems may have insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation says people with insomnia are more likely to have depression, anxiety, or both. People may also experience depressive moods if they sleep too much.

  1. Changes In Weight And Eating Habits

Do you find yourself eating more unhealthy foods or skipping meals?  A sign of depression can be eating too little or too much. Food is known to be used for comfort while feeling emotional. Or, if your mood is low, you may not feel like eating much. As a result, your weight may fluctuate up or down. The severity of a person’s depression symptoms may also vary depending on how they view themselves or body type.

    1. Substance Use

    People may turn to alcohol or drugs when feeling lonely or sad. Sometimes a person may not realize they have a problem with substance use because they don’t recognize how often they turn to alcohol or drugs when coping. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) says roughly 1 in 5 with an alcohol or substance use disorder also has a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression. 

    1. Smiling Depression

    Do you feel like you have to put on a happy face to get through the day? People hiding their depression may force a smile on their face when around others. Also known as “smiling depression,” a person may carry on as if nothing is wrong. They may worry about what other people think about them or think people may see them as unreliable. Some individuals who force a smile could have significant depression. Some may recognize they need help but are not sure how to get it.

    1. Tiredness Or Fatigue

    Do you feel tired or exhausted much of the time? One of the most common signs of depression is fatigue. When you lack energy, you’ll feel tired or worn out. You may feel this way if you’re not getting enough sleep, or you may be burned out from work or family. While most people feel tired from time to time, a person with depression may feel fatigued persistently or develop severe tiredness.

    1. Aches And Pains

    Do you have aches or pains that come and go without a cause? Depression affects your mental health, but people often experience physical consequences. Besides weight changes and tiredness, a person may experience headaches, backaches, digestion issues, and chronic pain. Some with major depression may experience other health concerns, such as heart disease, arthritis, or type 2 diabetes. If you have a pre-existing or chronic condition, depression can make taking care of yourself more challenging.

    1. Pessimistic Thoughts

    Do you have a habit of looking at things from a negative standpoint? Some with depression may have a difficult time thinking positively about the future. An individual with depression may assume their judgment is more accurate than someone who may not have depression. In short, they may not have as much optimism as others.

    1. Irritability

    Do you feel bothered by others during the day? Mood changes are common with depression, but many may not associate it with depression. Some who are depressed may express irritability or anger instead of sadness. Some may show suppressed anger or sudden change in their mood, giving the impression they don’t want to be bothered.

    Noticing The Hidden Signs Of Depression In Your Life?
  1.  Loss Of Interest In Activities

Have you stopped doing an activity you loved? Living with depression can often make engaging in interesting activities or hobbies difficult. Lack of interest in hobbies is a common symptom, especially when a person becomes distant and doesn’t want to be around others. Activities once enjoyed are enjoyed no more.

  1.  Changes In Sex Drive

Do you look forward to being intimate with your partner? A person may not find sex as enjoyable if they are depressed. Other factors such as low energy, frequent exhaustion, and lack of interest may also contribute to the issue. A person with depression may have relationship and communication issues with their spouse or partner, adding additional strain to the situation.

  • Learn effective stress-reducing methods, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. 

  • Learn ways to boost your self-esteem. 

  • Engage in light social conversations with others. 

  • Get reacquainted with a hobby or activity you used to enjoy try something new. 

  • Exercise Regularly. 

  • Improve your diet. 

  • Ask a friend for moral support or join a local support group. 

  • Take advantage of online therapy options to help you explore your thoughts and feelings.

Can You Help Someone You Suspect Has Hidden Depression?

If you think a loved one is showing signs, encourage them to talk about their feelings with someone. Offer to listen to them without judgment. Encourage them to learn about treatment options. Offer moral support when they attend appointments. Engage in productive activities like exercise and socializing.

There are also help options available. Working with a healthcare professional such as a counselor or therapist is essential to understanding how your symptoms affect your life. While there are depression test options online that may give some insight, reputable mental health sources provide detailed information about depressive symptoms you can research.

Speaking with a therapist has been proven to help improve mood, thoughts, and physical functioning for patients with depression. Sometimes depression symptoms can make it hard to muster the energy to visit a counselor in person. Studies have found that online therapy, such as through BetterHelp, can be just as effective as in-person therapy, plus it offers the convenience of not having to leave your home.

Working with a therapist, including online therapists like those at BetterHelp, can help you find the relief you're looking for. Studies find that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy; it offers the convenience of not having to leave your home. A therapist can help you to identify where your depression is coming from, triggers that you face, and coping strategies to overcome it. You can read the reviews of our therapists below from people experiencing similar issues.


People with depression display different symptoms. The signs mentioned give a general idea of what to look for when suspecting depression. If you or someone you know are concerned about symptoms, you can get help. There are trusted mental health organizations and online counseling and support groups providing ongoing support anytime you need it.

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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