The signs of mental illness are not always obvious. Subtle changes in mood or behavior are often attributed to aging, just like weaker muscles and fuzzy thinking. If not identified early, these signs can grow into extreme cases of mental illnesses like depression.

However, depression (extreme sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness) and anxiety (debilitating worry and agitation) are often not affiliated to aging. Identifying and making a decision to get help for these feelings can help you maintain your health and enjoy life to the fullest.

Sometimes recognizing depression and anxiety takes a little honest reflection about your behaviors, feelings, and habits. Here are 8 signs you might have not noticed.

1. Apathy – Have you lost interest in the activities that used to bring you joy? Has life lost so much meaning that you feel empty? Those are classic signs of depression.

2. Helplessness or hopelessness – Do you feel there is little you or anyone can do to improve your life? Helplessness and hopelessness also are signs of depression.

3. Changes in habits – Sleeping or eating too much or too little can be a sign of depression. So can drinking more alcohol than usual or engaging in risky behavior.

4. Persistent fatigue – It is normal to be tired at the end of the day. But if you are tired all the time, it could be due to depression or anxiety. Or it may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as an underactive thyroid or heart failure.

5. Difficulty focusing or making decisions – People who are depressed and anxious have difficulty making decisions because they worry whatever they do will be wrong. Or you may have trouble concentrating or paying attention to others.

6. Mood swings – If you are easily irritated (or extremely impatient or overly self-critical), or if you experience frequent mood swings, it could be a sign of depression or anxiety.

7. Unending worry – Are you anticipating every possible problem and focusing on it rather than looking at the lake or sky or enjoying being with your grandchild. He says that kind of worry could be due to an anxiety disorder.

8. Wanting to be alone – If you enjoy solitude because you like the time to read or meditate, that is fine. However, that is different from staying home because it takes too much energy to interact with others. That is a sign of depression.


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