Concealed Depression Affects Language Use According To Scientists

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As a life-altering mental illness, depression can affect every area of our lives including, among others, our eating and sleeping habits, relationships, job and hobbies.

Concealed Depression Affects Language Use According To Scientists

As a life-altering mental illness, depression can affect every area of our lives including, among others, our eating and sleeping habits, relationships, job and hobbies. People who've been diagnosed as being in a ‘sad’ or ‘grief-stricken’ state, are stuck in a condition that lasts longer than the average state of sadness which we all feel from time to time in our lives.


Common signs and symptoms of depression are: a loss of libido, lowered or increased appetite, fatigue, weight gain or loss, loss of interest in hobbies and activities, feelings of hopelessness, insomnia or oversleeping, and constantly feeling ‘blue.’ It's essential to identify and address clinical depression as it might complicate numerous severe health conditions including cancer and heart diseases and may even lead to suicide in the most severe cases.


New research demonstrates that the words that we choose can reveal an early onset of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation. According to a study published in ‘Clinical Psychological Science’ in January 2018, there are certain markers in the communication of somebody who is experiencing a specific level of psychological distress. By identifying those specific markers, experts can identify the onset of anxiety and depression at an early stage. Early diagnosis allows mental health professionals to take the necessary steps to treat the disease before it has a long-term, permanent effect on the overall health of a patient.


Experts can identify some of the differences, such as a change to the content or subject of the statements which are being made. People suffering from depression might choose words which better convey their current negative state, like, for instance, ‘lonely,’ ‘upset,’ or ‘pathetic.’


Those individuals also, statistically, tend to use more first-person singular pronouns, such as ‘me,’ ‘myself,’ and ‘I.’ That highlights the fact that depressed persons often feel a lack of connection with other people around them, focusing more on themselves. While it's easier to identify the negative terminology, experts claim that this particular shift in pronoun use is a more reliable indicator.


Moreover, researchers have noted that people who suffer from mental health conditions tend to use ‘absolutist words.’ These words are indicative of somebody who views the world solely in extremes. Instead of acknowledging the spectrum before them, they tend to see everything in black and white. For instance, they use words like ‘complete,’ ‘whole,’ ‘totally,’ ‘always’ or ‘never.’



Acoustician Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson from the University of Maryland hopes to take this piece of information and apply it practically to help young adults and teenagers track their voice pattern, identifying any signs of early onset.


There are plans for further study that will explore these patterns and compare the speech patterns of people with depression to those who have no history of mental illness.

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Thinking Humanity: Concealed Depression Affects Language Use According To Scientists
Concealed Depression Affects Language Use According To Scientists
As a life-altering mental illness, depression can affect every area of our lives including, among others, our eating and sleeping habits, relationships, job and hobbies.
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