"Could you be depressed and not know it?" This sounds like a ridiculous question. After all, wouldn't you know if you were depressed? Possibly not. Depression can take hold gradually, without a person realizing that depressive thoughts and feelings are increasingly dominating her perspective - and her life.
Many people assume that depression is easily identifiable, manifesting itself as persistent sadness that doesn't lift. In fact, symptoms of depression can take a variety of forms. Chances are that if you are reading this article, you have the feeling that something isn't quite right. You may find that you are tired all the time, and all you want to do is sleep. Depression can also trigger insomnia, forgetfulness, and an inability to take pleasure in normal activities. According to Eve Wood, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, and author of 10 Steps to Take Charge of Your Emotional Life, "Women often say, 'I'm not depressed; I just don't care', but that indifference can signal depression." It turns out that excessive fatigue, insomnia, and joylessness can all be symptoms of depression.
Researchers are becoming increasingly aware that depression runs in families -- sometimes across multiple generations. If Lynne Boschee were to draw her family tree of depression, for instance, it would branch across three generations to include her father and her brother and his two teen-aged children. On one limb would be Boschee herself, who had postpartum depression. Her 4-year-old son, Jack, doesn’t have the illness, but she worries that his excessive fears and panic attacks spell an anxiety...
As subtle and confusing as signs of depression can sometimes be, it's important to remember that depression is a serious illness that can cramp lives, cast a shadow over families, and even lead to suicide. A growing body of research has documented the serious and chronic effects of depression on the human brain - effects that can make a person susceptible to future incidents of depression.
According to the American Psychological Association, women are twice as likely as men to experience depression or dysthymia (persistent low-level depression), and misdiagnosis of depression in women is high. The good news is that depression can be effectively treated. If you suspect that you or someone you know is depressed, you've come to the right place. WebMD can help you learn more about depression and what you can do about it.
* Changes in weight, sleep or appetite: These signs of depression can be confusing because depending on the individual, they can take very different forms. Some depressed women want to sleep all the time, for example, while others may experience insomnia.