Depression Causes- What is Behind the Blue State of Mind?

“You can be living in the most ideal circumstances possible and still be depressed.”

Do you find that fact hard to believe? Well, depression is a common mental health disorder that is defined as a consistent feeling of sadness. Depression affects an individual’s ability to feel, think and behave and creates various emotional and physical problems.

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention estimated that around 18.5% of the United States adult population suffered from depression or related symptoms for a period of 2 weeks in the year 2019.

Getting the right medical treatment for depression can help in reducing the risk of depression to a larger extent.

Depression is a common mood disorder that can affect an individual at any particular age. The National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 16.1 million American adults suffered from a major depressive episode.

Although depression can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

Taking depression medication like Prozac (fluoxetine) which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration can be taken to treat the symptoms of depression.

Some of the common symptoms of depression include multiple health complications like lack of interest, feeling emptiness, headaches, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, low sex drive, lack of hormones in both males and females, etc.

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What Are The Risk Factors Of Depression?

There can be various factors of depression that can be medical, social, genetic or circumstantial in nature. Getting the right medical treatment in time can help avert the risk of depression. Some of the common risk factors of depression are as follows.

  • Gender: It is estimated by medical professionals that women are twice more likely to develop depression in comparison to men.Such a biased factor certainly increases the risk of depression for women. It is the hormonal changes in women, particularly during puberty, prior to menstruation, following Pregnancy and perimenopause that lead to the occurrence of depression.
  • Genetic influence: Medical experts say that depression usually runs in families.There are certain genes that are thought to be associated with depression that has functions related to the activity of chemicals called neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.Such chemicals in the brain help in relaying chemical signals that allow nerve cells(neurons) to communicate with each other. The risk of depression for the future generation increases even if one family member gets diagnosed with depression.
  • Personality: There are certain personality traits that can increase the risk of depression for an individual.Traits like low self-esteem, being too critical, being too independent, extreme pessimism, and overwhelming anxiety can contribute to the development of depression.
  • Addiction:  It is common among people to experience depression if they are suffering from chronic addiction to drugs or alcohol. Such an addiction can trigger feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and sadness and increase the risk of depression.The majority of the people who suffer from depression do develop a habit of drinking alcohol.
  • Traumatic events: Traumatic and stressful events like abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, and financial problems can all have a severe impact on an individual’s mental and physical health.A person may require years of therapy to repair the mental damage done. A mental health professional may recommend depression medication like Zoloft or Prozac after knowing the severity of the cases.
  • Medical condition: People who are diagnosed with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and other heart diseases can face the risk of depression if it is left untreated.Taking depression medication and talk therapy or a combination of the two can help manage depression.
  • Poor nutrition: Depression can be triggered by poor dietary choices as well. Taking in a poor quality diet that has high processed meat, chocolates, sweets, fried food, refined cereals and high dairy products can make one more likely to report symptoms of depression.It is due to the low level of vitamin B12, B6 and other elements that can lead to the development of depression in an individual.  That is why sometimes medical experts may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements along with depression medication.
  • Medicines: There are several medicines that can trigger depression and related symptoms.That is why doctors often emphasize the importance of knowing all the information about the medicines before taking them. Medicines used to treat acne, thyroid imbalance, and allergies can lead to depressive side effects, even some pain relievers and antibiotics might have the same side effect.Depression medication should also be taken under the guidance of a mental health expert.
  • Emotional support: Being isolated for a long time, and not having that emotional support from close friends and family is a common source of depression.Feelings of exclusion or loneliness can lead to depressive episodes in people who are more at risk.Psychologists may suggest engaging in social activities, join a support group and taking therapy to battle clinical depression.
  • Drugs and alcohol:  Substance abuse of alcohol or drugs can interact with depression medications like antidepressants, anxiety medicine, and mood stabilizers and make them less efficient in managing the symptoms of depression.Depression is common among people who are battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

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  • Sleep problems:  Medical researchers estimated that due to chronic sleep deprivation and reduced quality of sleep over time, one may become more likely to experience depression due to changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Also Read: How Can an Individual Cope With Depression and Anxiety?

BOTTOM LINE

Depression is a complex mental condition that is not entirely understood by medical professionals. Getting an early diagnosis can make the symptoms more manageable.

Apart from taking depression medication, mental health experts recommend maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle by eating nutritious food and working out.

It is often advised to not dwell on the past and become more expressive with your feelings and thoughts while battling depression.

Through therapy sessions, one might be able to bring a change of thoughts and emotions, maybe see the world with a little more gratitude. Treating depression with cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy has proven helpful in both short term and long term cases of depression.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8933

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/what-is-depression

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

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Julain Carter is mental health expert for Goodrxmedicine.com. He is an experienced clinical mental health counsellor with recognition in cognitive behavioural therapy. Julian’s sharp behavioural observations reflect in both his personal and professional life.