Depression is not always obvious. In fact, some people go to great lengths to hide the symptoms of depression from those around them – hiding the problem so well that they hardly recognize it themselves.

For this reason, latent depression is sometimes called “smiling” depression. A person with latent depression may feel fulfilled, happy, and productive. Their work life and relationship looks good from the outside.

But in a quiet environment that isn’t easily shared internally, the symptoms of depression can take a toll on their thoughts, feelings, and physical health. And these symptoms do not go away.

It is important to know how the symptoms of depression change. Undiagnosed and untreated depression can improve when people get help. Learn more about how to diagnose and treat it.

Classic and atypical symptoms of depression
One reason latent depression can be difficult to recognize is that symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. You may already know the most common symptoms of depression.

Sadness that lasts more than 2 weeks
constant crying
a big drop in self-esteem
Loss of interest in things that were once important
But other symptoms can be difficult to recognize as depression, including:

physical pain and gastrointestinal problems not related to other medical conditions
fatigue or lack of energy
changes in sleep patterns
weight gain, weight loss, and appetite changes
changes in substance use
irritability, anger or hypersensitivity
feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
problems with attention, concentration, and memory
decrease in sexual interest
One way to tell if someone is suffering from depression is to see how long someone has had symptoms. In general, symptoms that do not improve within 2 weeks should be discussed with a licensed healthcare professional.

What can latent depression look like?
It is important to observe any changes in behavior. When people are depressed, they start to act differently than before, even if they don’t act sad or apathetic.

One or two changes do not necessarily indicate that someone is hiding depression, but several changes occurring at the same time are cause for concern.

If someone is showing signs of depression but is not talking about it, observant people around them may notice the following types of changes.

Individual differences
Personality changes can be symptoms of underlying depression. For example, a person with latent depression may become quieter if they were once ostracized, or more pessimistic if they were confident about the future.

Significant weight loss or gain
Sudden changes in eating habits – eating in response to emotional situations or lack of interest in eating – can be a sign of underlying depression.

Changes in substance use
Changes in your drinking or substance use patterns that interfere with your daily life may be a sign of underlying depression.

Changes in sleeping habits
Staying up late or staying asleep longer than usual, or staying awake at unusual hours, can be signs of depression.

It’s getting more serious
If someone is living with latent depression, they may initiate or initiate conversations that are deeper, darker, or more philosophical than usual.

Differences in social interactions
Symptoms of depression include becoming the “life of the party” as if someone is not being authentic. It may be a sign of depression if they constantly make excuses as to why they are not in touch with friends and family and start withdrawing from social activities.

Productivity differences
Spending more time on work or seeing a decline in work performance can indicate depression.

Giving up a hobby or cause that was once important
A person with latent depression begins to give up on things that were once very important, or to participate half-heartedly.

Negative self-talk
A person can say negative things in a joking way to take their mind off the pain. Risky behavior is likely to increase, especially among teenagers. It can be numbness or attempts at self-harm.

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