Risk Factors For Depression
Depression can affect anyoneeven a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Its Effects On Depression Are Still Being Examined
As outlined in data from the National Insitute of Mental Health, approximately 21 million adults in the US experienced a major depressive episode in 2020. This makes up 8.4% of the US adult population. A major depressive episode is defined as “a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.” Symptoms of a depressive episode vary but can include insomnia, concentration issues, low self-esteem, and problems with eating. So, how can CBD help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms? Many studies have been done, but all on animal species . Because of this, it cannot be said for certain if humans would experience the same benefits.
In one 2014 study, CBD appeared to affect the 5-H1TA receptors, aka the serotonin receptor. Serotonin is what gives us the feeling of happiness and contentment, which is why low levels of serotonin are usually seen in those suffering from anxiety and depression. Another 2018 study suggested that CBD could affect stress levels positively, which is significant as depression is often brought upon by high stress levels. Additionally, Forbes recounts how a study conducted on mice revealed CBD produced an effect close to the antidepressant imipramine. Nevertheless, further human trials would be required to fully prove if these effects are as beneficial for people.
Personal Factors That Can Lead To Depression
Personal factors that can lead to a risk of depression include:
- family history depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, this doesnt mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the condition.
- personality some people may be more at risk because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative
- serious medical conditions these can trigger depression in two ways. Serious conditions can bring about depression directly or can contribute to depression through the associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of a condition or chronic pain
- drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.
Recommended Reading: What To Do When You Feel Depressed And Unmotivated
Where To Look For Local Resources
- Geriatricians can be very helpful. You can get an online consultation with a geriatrician through university medical schools that have a department of geriatrics.
- Mental health facilities exist in most areas. Ask if there is someone on staff who deals in issues facing older adults.
- Your local senior center may be able to refer you to a gerontologist or therapist.
- Speak with your and/or your loved one’s medical doctor about your concerns, and ask specifically about how to obtain a mental health workup. Don’t be afraid to ask twice.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
Read Also: Is There Such A Thing As Mild Depression
Mostly Cs: You May Not Be Suffering From Anxiety Or Depression
Remember, everyone goes through tough periods. All people feel sad or anxious from time to time. Its part of the human experience. It shouldnt be considered threatening or problematic, says , a licensed psychologist in Durham, NC.
Life is hard. Its about learning how to manage your feelings so you can enjoy your life.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.
During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.
Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
Also Check: When To Get Help For Postpartum Depression
Increased Fatigue And Sleep Problems
Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.
Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.
Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.
What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Ssi For Depression
Signs That Youre Suffering From Depression: 10 Big Signs We Need To Know
Depression is a common mental illness that affects more than 300 million people worldwide 20% of them women, 10% males, and 5% or more of them are adolescents.
According to the World Health Organization, it is the most prevalent cause of disability worldwide, affecting 17.6 million people annually and costing around $50 billion each year.
Changes In Appetite And Weight
Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others wont be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if theyre intentional or not. If theyre not, it may mean that theyre caused by depression.
People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but dont judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Also Check: I Am Fat And Depressed
Different Types Of Depression
Your doctor may diagnose you with depression and say that its mild, moderate or severe depending on your symptoms and how severe they are. Or you may be diagnosed with a specific type of depression, such as:
- dysthymia mild depression that lasts for several years
- seasonal affective disorder depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern
- postnatal depression depression that many parents experience after having a baby. Some people experience antenatal depression during pregnancy.
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
Recommended Reading: Clinical Depression In Young Adults
Most Common Signs Of Depression
Depression isnt a one-size-fits-all condition.
Its symptoms can vary from person to person and can be based on the specific type of depression you have. But even if two people have the same type of depression, they may still have different symptoms.
There are many symptoms of depression, but there are five common ones that, if you experience them for most of the day for more than 2 weeks, may be a strong indicator that you have depression.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
You May Like: Does Dark Chocolate Help Depression
Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
Should I Worry That My Child Will Commit Suicide
National surveys from the government show the overall risk. In 2019, for example, nearly 9% of high school students attempted suicide at least once over the course of a year. Thinking about suicide also continued to rise from previous years . Although less common, young children do attempt suicide as well.
Watch your child closely for the warning signs of suicidal behavior, including:
- Focus on death and dying.
- Giving away possessions.
- Combination of the two.
Don’t Miss: Does Depression Come In Cycles
What Are The Causes For Concern
Emotional problems should always be taken seriously, whether in the young or in older adults. With the older population, however, there are specific risk factors associated with depression and anxiety, especially when there is compromised immunity. Older adults who are struggling emotionally often don’t heal as quickly or as completely from cancers, infections, and other illnesses.
Suicide is also a concern.
“The second highest rate of suicide is in elderly white men,” said Fuhrmann. Loss of status and/or income, the loss of a spouse, a troubling diagnosis such as a terminal illness or dementia, or the sudden transition to living alone can drive up the suicide risk factor.
Can Depression Be A Symptom Of Other Mental Health Problems
Depression can be a part of several mental health problems, such as:
If feelings of low mood or suicidal thoughts are the reason you first speak to your doctor about your mental health, your GP might offer you treatment for depression without realising that you are also experiencing other symptoms.
If you think you’re experiencing other symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about this to make sure you’re getting the right treatment to help you. See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for information on how to make sure your voice is heard, and what you can do if you’re not happy with your doctor.
Don’t Miss: How Many Teenager Have Depression
Listen To What Your Loved One Says
Don’t forget that the older person you are concerned about has opinions, thoughts, and wishes all their own. It’s important to listen to what they want and do not want, and to not assume that you know what’s best.
It’s always better to approach others in a spirit of camaraderie and teamwork rather than attempting to impose a course of evaluation or treatment without their input. It should go without saying, but always be respectful. You might think you know what’s best for someone elseand you might even be right some of the timebut what’s “right” might not be what’s desired, and we allregardless of our ageare entitled to be heard.
What Does Severe Depression Feel Like
Severe depression is classified as having the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, but the symptoms are severe and noticeable, even to your loved ones.
Episodes of major depression last an average of six months or longer. Sometimes severe depression can go away after a while, but it can also be recurrent for some people.
Diagnosis is especially crucial in severe depression, and it may even be time-sensitive.
Major forms of depression may also cause:
- suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Severe depression requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely recommend an SSRI and some form of talk therapy.
If youre experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you should seek immediate medical attention. Call your local emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 right away.
You May Like: Books About The Great Depression