5 Conditions That Can Be Mistaken For Depression

Feeling depressed? You may have one of these instead.

You may know someone who is clinically depressed or you may suffer from depression yourself. However, there are several disorders that resemble depression that shouldn’t be overlooked. Feelings of helplessness, anxiety and consistent sadness may look like depression or Major Depression Disorder (MDD), but could also signify something like a vitamin deficiency or hypothyroidism.

Here are five conditions that may mirror depression, but to be successfully treated, need to be identified and tackled for what they actually are.

1. Hypothyroidism


Someone with symptoms of depression may actually have hypothyroidism, aka an under-active thyroid, according to WebMD. To verify if this is the case, blood tests can determine if something’s awry with your thyroid or if your symptoms are solely depression—or both.

2. Lack Of Vitamin D


Yes, if you’re lacking in vitamin D, you may have symptoms of depression, such as having less energy and interest in everyday activities, according to the Vitamin D Council.

“Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D, which means that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain,” states the Vitamin D Council. “These receptors are found in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression.”

You may be familiar with serotonin, which is increased in people on anti-depressants. Vitamin D may increase the amount of chemicals called monoamines, like serotonin.

3. Caffeine Withdrawal


Cutting out caffeine is tough, and the symptoms associated with doing so can resemble depression and anxiety, according to Livestrong. For instance, your sleep patterns can change when you switch up your caffeine consumption.

And a lack of sleep can mean an increase in depression symptoms, like fatigue and trouble concentrating. Though caffeine withdrawal symptoms may be gone within two to seven days, it’s best to have a professional assist you before kicking caffeine on your own.

“If you have a history of depression, talk to your health care provider before making changes to your regular caffeine intake,” recommends Livestrong. People who are very sensitive to caffeine’s stimulant properties may experience more severe symptoms after eliminating caffeine.