10 Unusual Warning Signs of Depression

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If you’re a caregiver, you’ve probably already heard how depression can cause obesity, anorexia, insomnia, memory loss, slow reaction times, and even suicide.

10 Unusual Warning Signs of Depression

Some symptoms of depression are atypical and make it harder to diagnose. They may just be something you or your family thought was a character quirk or the “status quo.”  Depression can rear its ugly head in many different ways, and while things like those we mentioned above or “typical,” the atypical symptoms are plentiful as well.  In any case, if you even suspect an odd behavior or change in behavior might be related to depression – a deeper look and conversation can only help to either clear up the confusion on the issue or help diagnose actual depression, which can then be treated.

Here are 10 Unusual Warning Signs of Depression:

  1. Irritability. People who are depressed are more inclined to lash out at others. “Experiencing irritability, hostility, anger, and being sensitive to rejection are all common symptoms when depressed. Less well known is the fact that not only is irritability a sign of depression, but that it often signals a more severe level of depression. Hostility and irritability are also linked to a higher likelihood of having other mental illnesses, like anxiety,” says Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD.
  2. Zombie behavior. If your parent’s lack of response makes you want to distance yourself, pay attention: that behavior may signal depression. Your normally enthusiastic parent’s unusual apathy may be part of a depressive behavior pattern.
  3. Pathological guilt about ridiculous things. If your parent feels extreme guilt over occurrences they can’t control or past events, they may have a problem. For example, if your parent says she wishes she’d never been born, that’s a sign of pathological guilt.
  4. Increase in alcohol or drug use is caused by the need to self-medicate. Unfortunately, alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes are all closer at hand than therapy. Nearly 1/3 of people with depression abuse alcohol.
  5. Excessive or compulsive behavior. Studies indicate that excessive behavior, especially online addictions, such as gambling or Facebook or shopping, may signal depression.
  6. Daydreaming. Although daydreaming can sometimes lead to increased creativity, when done in excess, it may signal depression.
  7. Indecision. If your parent can’t make up their mind about simple things, it may be time to investigate depression as a cause.
  8. Perfectionism. If your parent has unbelievably high standards that are difficult to meet, that may be a warning sign of rigid perfectionism.
  9. Poor hygiene. such as failure to brush teeth, clean dentures, comb hair, and wash. One survey indicated that 61% of people with poor oral health reported suffering from depression.
  10. Falling more frequently. People with depression tend to be more inattentive to their surroundings, which may result in more falls. Be aware that an increase in falls can also be attributable to vision loss, balance problems, and bad footwear.


Symptoms of depression include:

  • feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • lack of interest
  • significant decrease or increase in appetite
  • insomnia or hypersomnia
  • purposeless behaviors such as wringing hands, tapping fingers, pacing, etc.
  • fatigue or loss of energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • diminished ability to concentrate or make decisions
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • abdominal cramps
  • digestive issues

Arbors assisted living operates a number of top-quality assisted living facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. If you’re interested in a tour or more information, please reach out today!

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