It cannot be overstated. Clinical depression is much more than a brief interlude of feeling sad or down. Deeper than “the blues” depression is a diagnosable mental health disorder that is growing in prevalence. It is very serious but fortunately, also very treatable. Being aware of the causes of depression is a strong step in understanding and addressing this common disease.
6 Typical Causes of Depression
1. Biology and Genetics
While all the specific mechanisms remain under debate, there is no denying the role of these two factors. Research studies have found changes in the brains of people with depression. In addition, depression does seem to run in families.
2. Trauma, Abuse, and Grief
Certain events (like physical and emotional abuse) can result in both trauma and grief. These two factors, in turn, dramatically increase the likelihood of a person experiencing a major depressive disorder.
The older we get, the higher our risk of depression. For the elderly, therefore, the risk is highest — perhaps due to isolation and failing health.
In a male-dominated culture, it may come as no surprise that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. As #3 explains, this incidence increases with age.
5. Chronic Medical Conditions
There are some chronic illnesses that cannot be controlled via lifestyle choices like exercise and diet. Dealing with such a frustrating condition has predictably been found to cause depression in some patients.
6. Major Life Events
Unlike like #2 above, these events may actually be positive (relocation, promotion, the birth of a child, etc.). The key is that they are major and thus, capable of overwhelming us.
6 Causes of Depression You Might Not Recognize
Perhaps you are already familiar with something called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Most people associate this condition with a cold, dark winter. However, a small percentage of SAD sufferers are reacting to the unbearable heat of summer.
Many variations exist in this category, but the most common is the daily stress of urban life. Dwelling in a city carries with it a 39 percent higher risk of mood disorders than living in rural regions.
3. Sleep Deprivation
This one is on the rise and will soon be moved to the “common causes of depression” list. Lack of sleep negatively impacts brain function. In turn, this puts you at risk for depression.
4. Thyroid Issues
If your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, you may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. A side effect of this condition is depression.
5. Social Media
Especially for teens and pre-teens, this factor is on the rise. Social media overload can create self-esteem problems and hamper real-life interactions. Over time, this may result in depression.
When anything good comes to an end, we can feel bad. These days, the concept of binge-watching TV shows has taken this to a dangerous new level. When our favorite shows end after we watch all 10 episodes in a row, it leaves us empty and lost — and susceptible to depression.
The catch-22 of depression is that it puts us in an emotional state from which it is difficult to find hope. We might shrug off symptoms and sink deeper into them. We may not accept the many, many causes of depression. However, anyone who finds that a depressive episode is seriously impacting their life should seek help. This might mean a negative impact on:
- Family life
- Social and Leisure Time
- Basic Daily Functioning
Resist the urge to downplay this situation for yourself or others in your life. Reaching out to an experienced health professional is a necessary step for complete recovery. In some cases, it can be a life-saving step. Please read more about depression treatment and contact us soon for a consultation.