Poor Personal Hygiene: A Red Flag for Major Depressive Disorder


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s estimated that about 16 million adults or 7% of the U.S. population …

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s estimated that about 16 million adults or 7% of the U.S. population over the age of 18 suffer from major depression. However, many individuals suffering from depression are not diagnosed because friends and family members are unaware of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. This, in turn, can lead to serious consequences, such as the complete inability of an individual to function normally, or even more dire end results such as suicide.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mental condition – and that’s why it’s important that individuals experiencing it get the treatment they need at the first signs of it. Specifically, depression is  characterized as a clinical mood disorder where feelings such as anger, sadness, frustration or loss interfere with a person’s daily life – sometimes for several months at a time.

Depression symptoms can present differently for each person, but for many depression changes their daily functioning, and typically for more than two weeks. It is crucial to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms, and some of these are fairly obvious and include the following:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Long periods of sadness
  • Lethargy
  • Apathy
  • Lack of productivity
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

However, while the aforementioned signs of the clinical mood disorder may seem somewhat obvious, there are others that aren’t. For instance, one possible warning sign is poor personal hygiene. That’s because when someone is suffering from a depressive disorder, they essentially lose the inability to function productively. This lack of productivity can interfere with their job, their schoolwork, their chores, etc. It can even interfere with their ability to accomplish even the most basic of tasks, such as eating, cleaning and, yes, bathing themselves.

Poor hygiene, essentially, is a sign of self-neglect, which is described as either the inability or unwillingness to attend to one’s individual needs. In terms of being considered a warning sign for depression, poor personal hygiene may consist of obvious body odor, poor oral hygiene and an individual regularly wearing soiled, wrinkled or stained clothing. This all ties into the aspect of self-neglect and the inability of an individual to function productively.

Remember, when it comes to diagnosing a depressive disorder, there is no blood test, X-ray or questionnaire that can verify the condition in an individual – there is only a diagnosis from a doctor or psychiatrist after a thorough health evaluation. That’s why it’s important for individuals to seek treatment at the first signs that there may be a problem. And those first signs may include poor personal hygiene.

Can depression be treated?

Depression is a serious illness, and as we noted above, the consequences of not receiving any treatment at all or being under-treated can have dire consequences. An individual cannot simply will it away. At Pasadena Villa, we create a comforting and therapeutic environment for those suffering from mental illness. We believe in treating all residents with compassion, and our programs are designed in ways that preserve and protect their dignity. We do common activities that many families do. Our staff and residents learn and model appropriate social, communication and life skills, from daily personal hygiene habits and etiquette during mealtimes, to many fun and relaxing social and recreational activities.

Our mental health professionals work directly with residents to observe them in actual social situations and incorporate these observations directly into the resident’s ongoing treatment plan.  This individual, real life personalized attention makes the Pasadena Villa treatment experience more appropriate and beneficial for each of our residents, especially when compared to any other available adult residential treatment mental health services.

As one of the very first programs in the country to base its treatment upon Social Integration, our mental health facilities offer help through a unique mix of individualized therapy and group residential programs with a clear focus towards achieving more independent living.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. Our outpatient center is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. If you or someone you know may need counseling on mental health services, please contact us today.

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If you’re ready to take the next step in the recovery process for you or your loved one, the compassionate team at Pasadena Villa is here to help. Give us a call at 877.845.5235 or complete our contact form.

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