What Causes Depression
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17 million adult Americans suffer from depression during any one-year period. Many do not even recognize that they have a condition that can be treated effectively.
What Causes Depression?
Depression results from an interaction of several factors – environmental, biological, and genetic. Depression signals first and foremost that certain mental and emotional aspects of one’s life are out of balance. The causes of depression aren’t always apparent, so it’s important to work with a trained therapist or mental health professional to help identify relevant factors and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Environmental Factors that Can Cause Depression
Stress resulting from the a major life event such as a loss of a job, death of a family member, divorce, chronic illness, or ongoing health problems of a family member can trigger depression. Everyday life stress can also build up over time and lead to depression.
Loss of identity or difficulty developing one’s own identity, and self-esteem may also contribute to depression. Feelings such as inadequacy and unmet needs for love and acceptance are factors.
Depression can result from situations in life in which someone feels she or he has little or no control. While this may be true in some situations (i.e., the loss of a job), it is also possible to identify choices that one does have in order to bring about positive change and feel in charge again.
Caring for a family member can also bring about depression. Working as a caregiver, while valuable and important, can also be physically and emotionally draining, and reduce the amount of time spent in supportive activities. Then there’s also the emotional aspect of watching someone you love suffer from illness.
A lack of social support can also contribute to depression. As humans, we are social animals. We need much more than just food and water to sustain our health. We also need connection, touch and contact with other human beings. When we become isolated and alone, and particularly when we’re struggling with negative feelings on our own, depression can ensue.
When we routinely stuff our emotions, this can lead to depression over time. We need our emotions to move through us like a wave. That is, by acknowledging them and allowing them to be felt (which when we don’t resist them, only lasts about 90 seconds). Once felt and experienced, our emotions give us information about what we need, which can address. Experiencing our emotions allows us to let them move through us and meet our own needs. When we stuff them, distract from them, avoid or ignore them, or use substances to stuff them, our emotions build up inside. Everything becomes “de-pressed” and we are left feeling numb and empty. Binge eating is an example of pushing emotions aside.
Biological Factors that Can Cause Depression
Depression may also be tied to imbalances in the biochemicals that regulate mood and activity. These biochemicals, called neurotransmitters, are substances that carry impulses or messages between nerve cells in the brain. An imbalance in the amount of activity of neurotransmitters can cause major disruptions in thought, emotion, and behavior.
Some people develop depression as a reaction to other biological factors such as chronic pain, medications, hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, or other medical illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to also have a thorough exam by your doctor.
Genetic Factors that Can Cause Depression
Because depression appears to be linked to certain biological factors, people can inherit a predisposition to develop depression. In fact, 25 percent of those people with depression have a relative with some form of this illness. However, just because a family experiences depression, doesn’t necessarily mean you will to. Bipolar disorder is a type of depression that more often has genetic components.
If you are asking yourself, what causes depression, then you or a family might be impacted by depression. Depression is not a sign of weakness, rather it’s a treatable illness. If you experience symptoms of depression, seeking help can help you overcome depression. You deserve to feel better.
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Tags: self improvement