The Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Depression
The truth is, no one is sure what causes depression. People who seem to be happy and privileged still suffer from depression at the same rate as others. But, there are some things that seem to make depression more likely in an individual.
The signs and symptoms should be around for more than two weeks without treatment to properly diagnose whether it’s a depressive disorder or a low mood. However, if you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately.
Causes of Depression
Keep in mind that while these are considered causes, not everyone who has these issues has depression. Since only about 7 percent of the US population has depression, you can assume that more than 7 percent of the population has experienced one or more of these causes yet did not develop depression.
- Abuse – If you have a past where you experienced any type of abuse, whether as a child or an adult, you may be more likely to experience a major depressive episode that requires you to seek professional treatment.
- Medication – There are drugs that are supposed to treat other illnesses that can bring on depression in some individuals. Some acne drugs, antiviral drugs, and corticosteroids all increase your risk of developing major depression.
- Conflict – Often someone who is susceptible to depressive episodes will develop worse symptoms when there is a lot of conflict with the family and inner circle of friends. In addition, crime victims often develop depression due to the powerlessness and shame they experience.
- Loss – Most people experience a loss, financial or death, and can overcome it. But people who are predisposed to become depressed might find that their loss is a trigger to severe major depression.
- Genetics – There is evidence that these mental disorders run in families. If anyone in your family suffers from depression, you are more likely to also suffer, but it’s not a sure thing that you will. They still don’t know the mechanisms behind what is triggering depression or the gene that may cause it. If you have a parent or sibling with depression, you may be three times more likely to develop it.
- Personal Problems – Some people with major depression have personal problems that make them outcasts to their family and their circle. This can cause someone who already has issues to become even worse. This can sadly happen for people whose sexuality and gender identity issues are not accepted by loved ones.
- Serious Illness – Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, and other serious illness can be a trigger for major depression. When someone’s life changes suddenly due to an illness, it can be hard to cope and accept the new reality.
- Substance Abuse – When it comes to substance abuse, it’s not always clear what came first: the depression or the addiction. Many people believe that substance abusers often are self-mediating to overcome their depression or other illnesses, and then end up making their situation worse with a major depressive episode.
These are all potential causes of depression. However, keep in mind that it’s possible that these are just triggers for someone who already had the right genetic makeup to suffer from depression since many people experience these things without suffering from depressive disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms of depression to look for if you’re trying to figure out what is wrong with yourself or someone you’re close to. But remember, only a trained professional can diagnose anyone. If you suspect that you or someone you love has a problem, please seek professional services for them.
- Irritable Mood – If you feel irritable pretty much all the time, as well as depressed, that is a sign of potential major depression – especially if this is not how you normally feel.
- Overwhelming Sadness – If you find that you’re crying a lot, and are sad about everything while having circle thoughts about this sadness, it’s a sign that you may have depression.
- Loss of Interest – If there are things that you used to love to do and now you cannot find any joy in doing them, that’s a sign of depression.
- Weight Changes – Often, depressed individuals have changes in appetite and either eat too much or eat too little.
- Sleep Disturbances – Many depressed people cannot sleep at night, or they sleep all the time and would rather sleep than do anything else.
- Restlessness – Some depressed people have described this as feeling as if they want to “do something” but they don’t know what it is. They are too sluggish to do anything but have an inner restless feeling of things not being right.
- Sluggish and Tired – This has been described as feeling as if you have lead in your veins and the inability to wake up fully. You just drag yourself around each day with no enthusiasm and with great effort.
- Worthlessness – Many depressed people feel unworthy and even describe themselves as hating themselves. They cannot find reasons why anyone else would want to be around them or why they are in this world.
- Guilt Feelings – Often, depressed people feel guilty a lot but not about anything they can define, other than they’re guilty that they can’t do the things they want to do and feel that they should do. But they feel helpless to help themselves.
- Problems Concentrating – Depression can make it hard to focus and concentrate on anything. The mind starts wandering around and before you know it, you’re confused about what you were doing in the first place.
- Poor Decision Making – Many depressed people don’t make good choices in their lives because they are trying to do anything to feel better. This may mean becoming a substance abuser, going shopping, gambling, having affairs and other things to mask the depression.
- Thoughts of Dying – Some depressed people think about dying a lot. They wish they would just not wake up when they go to sleep. This is one reason a lot of depressed people sleep a lot.
- Thoughts of Suicide – Not all depressed people think of suicide, but many will develop within their mind very well-thought-out plans on how they might kill themselves. They tend to run through various scenarios trying to pin down how they will do it.
If you or anyone you know have any of these causes, signs, and symptoms, please seek immediate professional help. You won’t just snap out of it; it won’t just go away. Don’t be ashamed, because depression is a real illness with real help for anyone who seeks it.
Let’s look at how gender plays a part in depression and the treatment of depression next week.