Smiling depression is a serious depressive disorder because people often use smiles and optimism to hide their true feelings. This makes the disease not detected early and with proper attention.
What is laugh depression?
Smiling depression is a special type of emotional disorder that is common in people with high-functioning depression. This is a term used to describe a condition in which a person uses cheerfulness and optimism to mask their depression.
People with smiling depression can still resume normal daily activities. However, they are left alone to grapple with inner turmoil and emotional turmoil.
In fact, because they can hide their true feelings so well, many people with smiling depression don’t get the treatment they really need. This can increase the risk of self-harm or death by suicide.
Signs to recognize smiling depression
If you think you’re experiencing smiling depression, the easiest thing to spot is to contrast your feelings with how you present them in the outside world.
When you’re alone, you may experience persistent negative symptoms, but you’ve never expressed any feelings to others. This is thought to be the typical telltale sign of laughing depression.
1. Internal symptoms
Laughing depression is a common mental health condition that can affect the way you think, feel, and act. Similar to other forms of depression, symptoms you experience may include:
- Feelings of hopelessness: People with smiling depression often feel sad, depressed, guilty, and feel like they don’t have any value. They may fall into a prolonged state of despair.
- Loss of interest in activities: People with smiling depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- Changes in appetite: While some people have a habit of overeating when depressed, others have anorexia. Weight changes are also common in any type of depression.
- Sleep changes: Some people are always trying to get out of bed when depressed because they want to sleep all the time. Meanwhile, others can’t sleep, they may have insomnia or have major changes in sleep habits. For example, staying awake at night and sleeping a lot during the day.
- Thinking about death: Depression, despair, and long-term inner turmoil cause people with depression to laugh at the thought of death. Many people even find ways to realize suicide.
2. Outward expression
People with smiling depression can be aware of and understand the unusual symptoms they are experiencing. However, they deliberately hide it and do not show it to the outside.
For those around them, they always create a perfect cover for others to see that they are always optimistic and happy. They still show outwardly very normal signs such as:
- Always smiling, happy and having an optimistic attitude
- Do a great job, get a lot of achievements, and even get promoted very smoothly
- Always enthusiastic and active
- Regularly participate in group activities
- When unexpected situations happen, they remain calm and optimistic
People with laughing depression often tend to choose to live alone. This makes it easier for them to hide their true feelings. This is the reason why people around (including relatives and friends) cannot detect and give timely advice.
Causes of smiling depression
As with other depressive disorders, to date, the cause of smiling depression has not been clearly identified. However, through many studies, experts say, the occurrence of this disease is often the result of a complex interaction of many factors.
Causes of smiling depression may include:
- Biological differences: People with depression in general and those with laughing depression in particular have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still unknown, but it may be the cause of depression.
- Brain Chemicals: Neurotransmitters are natural brain chemicals that may play a role in depression. Specifically, changes in the function and effects of brain chemicals and how they interact with neurons involved in maintaining a stable mood.
- Hormones: Changes in hormonal balance may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormonal changes are often caused by pregnancy, postpartum, thyroid problems, menopause, or some other medical condition.
- Genetic factors: Depression is more common in people with blood relatives who have had the condition. Researchers are still looking for genes that may be involved in triggering depression.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are also some risk factors such as:
- Some personality traits such as low self-esteem, overdependence, pessimism, self-criticism, etc.
- Hurt or stressful events such as sexual abuse, death of a loved one, financial problems, etc.
- People from the LGBT community
- History of other mental disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic or serious illness
- Abuse of alcohol, drugs or certain drugs
Why do so many people hide their depression?
As mentioned, people with smiling depression are always trying to find ways to hide their emotions. They always appear to be optimistic and happy in all situations, even though they are having a fierce inner struggle.
There are many reasons for them to do this, including:
1. Fear of burdening others
In fact, depression and guilt often tend to go hand in hand. As a result, a lot of people don’t want to burden anyone else with what they’re going through.
This fact is often especially true of people who are in the habit of taking care of others instead of letting others take care of them. It could simply be that they don’t know how to ask for help. Therefore, they always try to fight depression on their own.
2. Feeling ashamed and afraid of being stigmatized
Currently, mental health issues have not received enough attention. Depression is sometimes even seen as a flaw of character or a sign of weakness. Many people expressed concern and discrimination against this issue.
This is also one of the reasons why people with depression want to hide their illness. They may use smiles to cover up their feelings of shame and fear of being stigmatized.
This condition is often seen in people living in low-income conditions. In addition, people with high social status are often faced with fear of being talked about by people around them.
3. Do not accept yourself sick
Not accepting that you have the disease is a common reaction of many depressed patients. Many people think that they are only bored for a short time when faced with psychological trauma. This condition can improve quickly when the mood is upbeat and happy again.
Instead of therapeutic intervention, patients often try to be optimistic and happy. They do this with the desire to quickly push away the negative emotions and behaviors that are going on. They always try to deceive perception and think that they are very normal. This condition is common in people with stubborn and rigid personalities.
4. Fear of being taken advantage of and laughing depression
People with smiling depression are often psychologically afraid of being taken advantage of when they reveal the disease. In addition to worrying that others will see them as weak and vulnerable, they fear others will use depression as a tool against them. Therefore, they would rather put on a cheerful, tough look than admit that they are in need of help.
5. Fear of affecting work
In some cases, smiling depression can develop as a result of anxiety affecting work and relationships. Especially jobs that need emotional stability such as comedians, doctors, lawyers, etc. Instead of risking sharing to be judged, they will use smiles to cover up the problems they are facing. .
6. High expectations from family
High expectations from family greatly influence the way a person expresses his or her feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. This is also thought to be a reason why people with depression try to hide their depression and despair.
Although they are facing internal struggles, the patient is always optimistic and happy. They always work hard to create achievements to please their loved ones. On the surface, they often lead a perfect life and receive a lot of praise from everyone.
7. Perfectionism and laughing depression
Perfectionists are usually very perfectionists. Many people also believe that it is necessary to disguise whatever pain or problem they are experiencing. Acknowledging their depression means that their lives have become less than perfect. So they cannot admit this and will instead find a way to cover it up.
8. Unrealistic view of happiness
Social media often portrays happiness in an unrealistic way. Many people scroll through social media and see pictures of other people being happy. This leads them to assume that they are the only ones struggling with depression. They feel isolated, so they will work even harder to hide their real problems.
Is smiling depression dangerous?
According to evaluation from psychologists, laughing depression has a higher severity than regular depression. Because patients tend to hide their emotions, it is difficult for those around them to recognize and give timely advice.
Furthermore, many people with smiling depression refuse to admit that they have it. From there, it leads to refusal of treatment and alone to struggle with intense inner turmoil and conflict.
In fact, laughing depression goes unnoticed and with early treatment can progress badly. It also has many potential serious consequences for both health and quality of life.
Laughing depression can cause the following problems:
- The body is tired, exhausted, weak and pale
- Decreased work and study performance due to loss of interest in things
- Continuous and prolonged sleep loss greatly affects both physical and mental health
- Increases the severity of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, etc.
- The quality of life declines, increasing the burden on the family and the whole society
- Thinking about death and committing suicide, sometimes even harming those around you
People with major depression sometimes feel suicidal, but they don’t have the energy to realize this thought. On the other hand, a person with smiling depression has a strong incentive to commit suicide. This has led to many tragic deaths in people suffering from laughing depression that is not properly cared for.
Diagnosing smiling depression
Diagnosing smiling depression can be difficult. Because this disease has the opposite outward appearance of depression, but the internal symptoms are similar.
Also, another obstacle in diagnosing laughing depression is that a lot of people don’t even know they have it. Or they don’t seek help from those around them.
If you suspect that you are depressed, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will ask you some questions about your symptoms or any major changes that have occurred in your life.
To be diagnosed with laughing depression, you need to go through a depressive episode that lasts more than 2 weeks. These symptoms affect the way you feel, think, or act. For example, eating, sleeping and working.
Besides, depending on the symptoms, the doctor may need to make a differential diagnosis with some of the following conditions:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Drug or stimulant-induced depressive disorder
- Seasonal depression
- Persistent depressive disorder
Treatment directions for smiling depression
As with other forms of depressive disorder, people with laughing depression can benefit from methods such as psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. The earlier treatment occurs, the better the prognosis.
The following are common methods used to treat smiling depression:
Currently, psychotherapy is a method that plays a particularly important role in the treatment of psychological and psychiatric problems. In particular, the treatment of smiling depression with psychotherapy is gradually becoming popular.
Psychotherapy helps patients relieve stress, anxiety and excessive depression. At the same time, it helps patients recognize misconceptions and form correct thoughts and behaviors.
Some of the psychotherapeutic methods that may be used are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Relaxation therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
In particular, group therapy and family therapy will help patients gain empathy, understanding and sharing. It also helps patients learn the skills they need to better cope with situations that lead to stress and depression.
2. Drug use
As mentioned, compared to normal depression, laughing depression is more severe. Therefore, the use of drugs to balance emotions and reduce the effects of the disease is very necessary.
The doctor will base on the symptoms, severity of the disease, the patient’s age and other related factors to prescribe the right drug. Medications that may be prescribed include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Drugs that increase cerebral circulation
Some medications used to treat smiling depression may have potential health risks. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you take the correct dose, frequency, and duration as prescribed by your doctor. If there is an abnormality in the course of taking the drug, it is necessary to notify the doctor immediately for early correction.
3. Lifestyle Adjustment
In addition to medical treatment, patients need to pay attention to adjusting a healthy lifestyle to provide additional support. This is considered a very important element in the treatment plan for laughing depression.
Issues to keep in mind include:
- Learn to open your heart and share more with those around you. Especially with family and friends or anyone you feel trustworthy.
- Take time to rest, do not try to work too hard to prove that you are not having a problem.
- Learn and practice techniques to help manage stress. You can meditate, listen to music, read books, take a warm bath, etc. whenever your mood is not good.
- Increasing nutritious foods, especially fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, etc. They can help alleviate some of the symptoms of smiling depression.
- Set aside time for physical activity every day for 30-60 minutes. Exercise can stimulate the production of happy hormones and combat symptoms of depression.
- Participate in social activities when you have time. This helps to create social relationships, understand self-worth, and have a correct sense of life purpose.
How to help someone with depression laugh?
Most people with smiling depression refuse to seek help. They always try to hide their true feelings and show those around them that they are happy and having fun.
However, if you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with laughing depression, don’t hesitate to help them. There are many things that you can do to support and help them get through their illness better.
Support may include:
- Encourage people with smiling depression to see a psychiatrist or counselor.
- Accompany them to a medical appointment or help them arrange transportation.
- Absolutely do not judge, instead need to accept, support and encourage them.
- Contact a doctor immediately if a person suffering from laughing depression is contemplating suicide.
- Help them with their chores or bring them a nutritious meal.
- Watch for changes in their habits or behavior.
Laughing depression is a common emotional disorder, absolutely not subjective. Early examination and timely treatment is necessary to avoid serious consequences arising. In addition to the help from the doctor, the patient needs to actively adjust healthy daily habits.