Depression Causes – Risk Factors
Depression is one of the greatest problems. Biological causes are due to changes in the chemistry of the brain, such as fluctuations in the levels of important hormones. Some people believe that depression is “normal” in people who are elderly, have other health problems, have setbacks or other tragedies, or have bad life situations. Depression can also develop due to a physical illness, a reaction to a medication that you are taking, or as an outcome of substance abuse. Certain environmental situations, such as stress or breakup of important attachments, also may precipitate depression, especially in vulnerable persons. Some types of depression do seem to run in families, suggesting a biological vulnerability. This seems to be the case with bipolar depression and, to a lesser degree, severe major depression. Depression affects people differently. Some feel down for extended periods of time; for others the feelings of depression come and go. If you have short episodes of mild depression, you may be able to continue to work and take care of daily activities.
People with depression may be reluctant to seek help because they feel that it is a sign of personal weakness or a character flaw or that they should be able to “pull out of it” on their own. A variety of psychological factors appear to play a role in vulnerability to these severe forms of depression. Most likely, psychological factors are completely responsible for other forms of mild and moderate depression, especially reactive depression. Depression can lead to chemical changes in the brain, which return to normal once your depression lifts. The functional changes of clinical depression are often called neurovegetative signs. This means that the nervous system changes in the brain cause many physical that result in diminished activity and participation. Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as do other illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
While feeling blue for a day or two or even a week is normal, feeling depressed for weeks and even for months can already be a symptom that something is wrong with you and that you need help. A person suffering from clinical depression should seek advice even before he becomes suicidal.
Depression has been blamed for more than half of suicide incidents all over the world. But there is hope for people who suffer from serious depression provided the illness is detected early and is regularly monitored.
Serious depression can occur because of death or a serious illness but it can also be genetic. A person who already has the genes making him susceptible to depression can be more prone to being depressed if h is exposed in a stressful and depressive environment.
Doctors believe that depression occurs because of certain hormonal or chemical imbalance in the brain of a person. The abnormalities in the neurotransmitters of a depressed person’s brain is said to be biological and not controlled by the person.
In most cases, depression runs in the family. Most often, a family with hereditary depression can expect to have a family member who will be prone to depression even up to the next generations. However, having someone in the family who is suffering from depression does not mean that you will also become depressed later on. In the same manner, a person can suffer from depression even if not one member of his family has suffered from the illness before.
A person who does not have the illness within his genes can still suffer from depression if he has a personality that is prone to depression. For one, a person who has a low self esteem or self worth and who is always pessimistic and moody can develop depression at anytime in his life.
A person who does not know how to handle stress and who have no support group can also suffer from depression. Depression should not however be related only to sad memories or events because some people suffer from depression even just after giving birth.
Depression is also caused by medications that a person has been taking for a long time. Medications for blood pressure and heart ailments, diabetes and the likes can cause depression. Drug and alcohol addiction can also cause depression.
It is important to know the cause of depression to be able to help the person heal. It is only by facing the cause of the problem that a depressed person can be rid of his depression.
Causes of Depression
Conditions that may trigger an episode of depression include:
- Some medications can trigger depression, such as steroids or narcotics for pain relief.
- Home problems.
- Infections, such as viral infections or infections in the liver or brain.
- Social stressors, such as the death of a loved one.
- Drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, or having a substance abuse problem.
- Chronic premenstrual syndrome.
- Death in the family.
How common is depression?
- Separated or divorced individuals, especially men, are more likely than married people to become depressed.
- People who have a serious illness are more likely to suffer from depression.
- Women experience depression twice as often as men.