Common Causes Of Depression
Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a persons risk for developing it themselves.
- Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
- Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
- Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
- Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.
People who believe that they may have hidden depression should speak to their doctor or a mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.
Other steps to treat depression might include:
Not everyone with depression will display the typical symptoms of sadness and despair.
Sometimes, the only signs a person may show are physical, such as fatigue, insomnia, or weight changes.
Depression Affects Each Woman Differently
Not every woman who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some women experience only a few symptoms. Others have many. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the illness.
Where Can I Learn More About Depression in Women?
The following agencies have additional information on depression in women.
How To Find Out If You’re Depressed
Depression is a big deal. It’s awful. It’s terrible. It ruins all the fun!
How do you know if you’re depressed? What’s the difference between depression and just being down in the dumps about something? Take the quiz below to test yourself, and also have a look at the symptoms belowthough nothing beats seeing a professional for diagnosis and help, this guide might help you make an initial analysis.
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How Is Depression Treated
The first step to getting treatment is to see your GP. If your GP thinks you have depression, they will talk to you about the treatments they can offer.
What are talking therapies?
Talking therapy is a general term to describe any psychological therapy that involves talking. You may also hear the terms counselling or psychotherapy used to describe talking therapy.
Therapy should offer you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve things.
Talking therapy often takes place face to face. But you may also be able to have therapy over the phone, by video call or online. There are different types of talking therapy that you might be offered. These include:
- cognitive-behavioural therapy,
- mindfulness based therapy, and
The type of therapy you are offered will depend on the cause of your symptoms and their severity. Therapies may also have different levels based on how long or intense the treatment is.
Ask your GP about therapy if you think it might help. Some of these therapies will be available in your area. Some areas offer a self-referral option for NHS talking therapies. Please refer to your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service to find out about this option.
You may also be able to access therapy privately or through your employer in an Employee Assistance Programme.
How can exercise help?
What Are My Treatment Options For Depression
Depression therapy usually uses drugs, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. Your doctor will review your condition and will consider what therapy is right for you.
Dont be ashamed to discuss your concerns about the therapies that the doctor offers. Treatment options for dealing with depression are:
The drugs used are antidepressants. Some drugs that are often used are escitalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, fluoxetine, and citaloppram. These drugs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors .
In addition, there are also drugs venlafaxine, duloxetine, and bupropion. This drug can cause several side effects, such as:
- Weight gain
- Sexual problems
Antidepressants do not cause addiction. When you no longer need antidepressants and stop using antidepressants, your body will not experience dependence.
However, the use and stopping of antidepressants must be under the supervision of a doctor. A sudden termination can cause worsening symptoms of depression. Always consult a doctor about using antidepressants.
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This therapy can also help treat depression. Psychotherapy is done by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving and changing habits that play a role in depression.
This therapy can help you understand and get through relationships that are full of problems or situations that cause depression or even worsen it.
3. Electroconvulsive therapy
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Feeling Down And Being Depressed Is Not The Same
Symptoms of depression can affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Common symptoms include trouble sleeping, appetite changes, and problems concentrating. They affect how you think, what you do, and how you feel physically. A depressed person may not feel motivated to do their usual activities. A person may feel low on energy, lack interest in activities they once enjoyed, or want to isolate themselves from others. Relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers may be affected.
Someone experiencing symptoms of depression may not take care of themselves as they should. The way they think about their health, such as how to manage chronic issues such as arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, may leave one feeling discouraged. When a depressed person feels hopeless, self-care is less of a priority and potentially increasing personal health risks. Depression is a medical condition that affects you emotionally and physically. However, these elements are influenced by each other, leaving a drastic effect on a persons thoughts and actions.
Depression Is A Real Medical Condition
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life. Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.
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Can You Inherit Depression
Genetic factors do play a role in depression, but so do biological, environmental, and psychological factors.2 Unipolar depression is less likely to be inherited than Bipolar disorder , says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University.
While depression does tend to run in families, just because a family member has depression does not mean you are going to get it, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. It is not a simple gene thing, he says. And the important thing is not so much why a person has depression but what are we going to do to help them.
How To Tell Your Parents You Have Depression: When You Think They Wont Believe You
Mom and Dad, I am suffering from depression. Its not just a one-time low feeling its been a constant feeling for a while now, and I am feeling less and less well every day. Depression is real, and it kills a lot of people in this county every year. It gets worse when no therapy is administered to the person who is suffering from depression. At first, it was many things that felt difficult for me, but now I I get suicidal thoughts from time to time. I feel so unhappy all of the time, and I know its not normal to feel like this. I need your help.Dad, I hope that you dont take this in the wrong way, but I have to tell you something important. My depression is eating at me. Its this mental condition that affects my brain, and it makes a person feel unhappy. It can also make the person feel weak and fragile all of the time. Ive lost interest in everything, and I feel really unwell. At school, the doctor says that I have all of the signs of depression, and it can kill someone who does not receive treatment for it. I am going to see the doctor for the first treatment tomorrow, and I may need you to be around for it.
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How Do Doctors See If You Have Depression
There are a few ways that doctors can diagnose depression, and these are usually in the form of a clinical interview or a questionnaire.
Although not universally used, there is a series of 9 questions that has been found to be one of the most reliable ways for psychologists and doctors to evaluate this is called Patient Health Questionnaire-9 , here is what it looks like
The scores are added up and the total is used to evaluate the results, its also important to mention that other questions are usually asked at the same time if in a clinical setting as the PHQ-9 is only used for a provisional diagnosis. The standard cut-off for this test is 10-27, meaning that a score of 10-27 may suggest depression. Im putting this here so you have an idea of the questions you may be asked, it is not as simple as just completing this questionnaire, thats why doctors have been trained for how to interpret the results and what additional considerations there are.
There is an argument for me not to include the PHQ-9 and the cut-off in this post, however, I believe that the more information someone has the better, as long as it is understood. This opinion is supported by a study into validity of self-reporting with depression by Sanchez-Villegas et al., 2008, who found that self-reporting is adequate for validity.
Seek Support For Symptoms Of Depression
Depression is often not recognised and can go on for months or even years if left untreated. Its important to seek support as early as possible, as the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they can recover.
Untreated depression can have many negative effects on a persons life, including serious relationship and family problems, difficulty finding and holding down a job, and drug and alcohol problems.
There is no one proven way that people recover from depression. However, there is a range of effective treatments and health professionals who can help people on the road to recovery.
There are also many things that people with depression can do for themselves to help them recover and stay well. The important thing is to find the right treatment and the right health professional for a persons needs.
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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor to see if they can suggest changes,
- get an advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- ask for a second opinion if you feel it would help,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
An advocate is independent from the NHS. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. They arent available in all areas.
You can ask an advocate to help you make a complaint. Advocates that do this are called NHS complaints advocates. They are free to use and don t work for the NHS. They re available in all areas.
You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you cant find a service you can call our advice service 0808 801 0525 . You can email us too at . We will look for you.
Talk to your doctor about your treatment to see if you can resolve the problem with them first. If you dont agree with their decisions about diagnosis or treatment, you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.
- Advocacy by clicking here.
How To Help Someone With Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
If someone you love has depression, you may wonder how you can help. You may even experience a range of difficult feelings of your own, such as worry, disappointment, and anger.
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Most Common Depression Diagnosis Scales
Some of the most popular scales used to help clinicians diagnose depression include:
- Beck Depression Inventory
- Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale
- Geriatric Depression Scale
- Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and adolescent PHQ-9
- Plutchik-Van Praag Self-Report Depression Scale
- Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology
- Rome Depression Inventory
- Zung Self-Rating Depression Scales
Some scales, such as the Beck Depression Inventory, are copyright protected and not available outside of a doctors office or mental health clinic . There are inventories, scales, and questionnaires that are in the public domain and, therefore, more accessible.
The PHQ, for example, is available for free online and in over 30 languages. It can be downloaded as a PDF or accessed as an interactive quiz on several reputable mental health websites.
Depression: Recognizing Unusual Symptoms
One reason depression can be hard to identify is that its signs can vary widely from person to person and sometimes be masked by atypical symptoms. For example, some people who are depressed may show it by acting disgruntled, resentful, or irritable. In fact, aggression including outright acts of violence can be indicative of hidden depression, according to a February 28, 2017, report in Psychiatric Times. Depression masquerading as anger may seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that several underlying factors, including alcohol or substance abuse and childhood trauma, have been linked to both.
Similarly, although its not clear why, a person who experiences anxiety is at high risk for developing depression, and vice versa. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that as many as 60 percent of people with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression the same goes for people with depression having . Experts say there is often a genetic predisposition for these co-occurring disorders.
Depression may also manifest psychosomatically, meaning that instead of presenting first and foremost as a mood disorder, the dominant symptom may be things like vague aches, dizziness, headaches, , or , according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Complicating matters is that its often hard to know whether depression is causing the physical symptoms, or if the physical symptoms are causing depression.
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Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Depression is a condition that can cause a variety of symptoms in everyone. For example, when suffering from depression some people will sleep more, while other symptoms can cause symptoms of insomnia and no appetite.
Even so, some common symptoms of depression are:
- Feeling depressed mood all day, especially in the morning
- You feel tired and lack of energy, almost every day
- You feel worthless and guilty almost every day
- You have difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- You cannot sleep or sleep too long almost every day
- You have no interest in fun activities
- You often think about death or suicide
- You feel lack of rest
- You may experience underweight or overweight.
For people who experience depression, these symptoms last for up to 2 weeks or more. There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have a concern about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.
Quoted from Web MD, some other symptoms of depression are:
- Feeling annoyed and restless
- Reducing pleasure in life
- Overeat or stop feeling hungry
- Have pain, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that dont go away or get better with treatment
- Feeling sad, anxious, or empty.
Not all people who experience depression experience the same symptoms as other people. This depends on how severe, how often, and how long they experience depression.
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