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Depression can be subtle.

You can fall into it without realising, and it can be hard for your friends and family to see the signs, or for you to identify it in yourself.

A new study has found that people living in urban areas, especially younger people, are more likely to find depression more difficult to identify.

Men also typically find it more difficult to recognise depression.

There's also the stigma. Of those nearly 4,600 surveyed, 62 per cent suggested that depression was associated with some form of disgrace or shame. 71 per cent saw some evidence that this stigma was present in their lives.

A study author, professor Mark Skidmore of Michigan State University, said:

Although great strides have been made in the area of mental health literacy in recent decades, the discrepancies in mental health knowledge, helping behaviours and stigma show the importance of continuing to educate the public about mental health issues.

The study also found that nearly four in five don't recognise prescription drug abuse as a treatable problem and that 32 per cent were unable to identify the signs of prescription drug abuse.

These were:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Poor decision-making
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor

Psyblog also lists six common signs of depression that are often overlooked.

  • Problems concentrating
  • Tiredness
  • Hopelessness
  • Over- or under-eating
  • Sadness
  • Aching muscles

Professor Skidmore said:

Our work is designed to help communities think about how to address behavioural health challenges as they emerge, whether that’s drug abuse, anxiety or other issues, and the challenges such as suicide that can accompany them.

HT PsyBlog

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