People with depression speak differently, says new research Advertisement

People with depression speak differently, says new research

These are the signs to look out for

By Francesca Rice  February 9th, 2018

People with depression speak in a different way, using particular words and speech patterns, according to new research.

In the study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers analysed large amounts of text taken from diary entries, personal essays and speech to work out whether communication is affected by depression.

Writing about the study for The Conversation, lead author Dr Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi from the University of Reading explained that he and his team identified several key differences in both content and style, compared to people who are not suffering from mental illness.

Depression sleeping

Representational image: Power of Positivity

Here are the linguistic signs of depression they identified:

  • An excessive amount of words conveying negative emotions, including ‘lonely’, ‘sad’ or ‘miserable’
  • Significantly more first person pronouns, including ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’
  • Significantly fewer second or third person pronouns, including ‘they’, ‘them’ or ‘she’
  • More ‘all or nothing’ (aka absolutist) vocabulary, including ‘always’, “nothing’ or ‘completely’

Of course, before you start panicking about your constant use of the word ‘always’, Dr Al-Mosaiwi warned that it’s ‘possible to use language associated with depression without actually being depressed,’ adding: ‘Ultimately, it is how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering.’

Other symptoms of depression to look out for:

  • Being unable to gain pleasure from activities that normally would be pleasurable
  • Losing interest in normal activities, hobbies and everyday life
  • Feeling tired all of the time and having no energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Having a poor or unhealthy appetite
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate and think straight
  • Losing self-confidence
  • Avoiding other people finding it harder than usual to make decisions
  • Feeling useless and inadequate

If you feel this way, it’s important to talk to somebody about it or bring it up with your GP. If you think somebody else might be thinking this way, talk to them about it.