What Does Depression Look Like
Well raise your question with a few Qs of our own: Are you female? Are you a teen? Depression can also affect different ages and genders in unique ways:
Women are more likely to ruminate . This can look like negative self-talk, sudden crying spells, feelings of guilt, or blaming oneself. Women are also more likely to have depression at the same time as an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, eating disorder, or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Men with depression are more likely to show signs of irritability, anger, apathy, escapist behavior , or reckless behavior .
Younger people can struggle with depression and MDD . Children and teens may sometimes exhibit oversensitivity, social withdrawal, poor school performance, frequent physical complaints , or feelings of incompetence and despair .
Older adults and the elderly are often misdiagnosed or undertreated for depression because their symptoms can be mistaken for other disorders , or they may assume their feelings are just an inevitable part of aging. For many, sadness isnt the biggest indicator of depression instead, physical complaints are often the predominant symptom. Sleep trouble, low motivation, neglect of personal care or hygiene, and fixation on death are other signs of depression in older adults.
Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, and stressful life events. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
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Whats The Link Between Depression And Chronic Illness
In some people, a chronic illness causes depression. A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely. However, chronic illnesses can often be controlled through diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, and certain medications. Some examples of chronic illnesses that may cause depression are diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV and AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis . Hypothyroidism may also lead to depressed feelings.
Researchers believe that treating the depression may sometimes also help the co-existing medical illness improve.
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Potential Root Cause Of Depression Discovered By Narsad Grantee
Charles BG Murphy Professor in Psychiatry and Deputy Chair for Basic Science
Professor of Neurobiology and Pharmacology and in the Child Study Center
Scientific Council Member
2016 Distinguished Investigator Grant
1996 Young Investigator Grant
From The Quarterly, Spring 2013
Marina Picciotto, Ph.D., leading a team of researchers at Yale University, has made an exciting discovery in the search for the biological causes of depression and anxiety. Their discovery points to the importance of a signaling system in the brain that was not previously believed to be central in causing depression.
For decades, many scientists have favored a theory of depression that stresses the impact of abnormally low levels of a signal-carrying chemical, called serotonin. The new research by Dr. Picciottos team shifts attention to a different signaling chemical, or neurotransmitter, called acetylcholine.
Millions of depressed people take anti-depressant drugs called SSRIsan acronym for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Prozac®, Paxil®, Celexa®, Zoloft® and other SSRI medications act to keep message-carrying serotonin molecules from being rapidly reabsorbed by nerve cells. By allowing serotonin to float for longer periods of time in the tiny spaces between nerve cells, called synapses, scientists have theorized the SSRI drugs promote signaling by compensating for abnormally low serotonin levels.
Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2022
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022
Trouble With Concentration Or Memory
Because of its impact on the brain, many people with depression report symptoms of memory loss or difficulty focusing. This could be because depression affects the hippocampus and the brains hyper-focus on negative thoughts and memories.
When your brain is constantly overstimulated with heavy emotions and thoughts, it can become difficult to focus on current tasks or make appropriate emotional connections with everyday experiences.
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Medication Recreational Drugs And Alcohol
Depression can be a side effect of a lot of different medicines. If you are feeling depressed after starting any kind of medication, check the patient information leaflet to see whether depression is a side effect, or ask your doctor. If you think a drug is causing your depression, you can talk to your doctor about taking an alternative, especially if you are expecting your treatment to last some time.
Alcohol and recreational drugs can both cause depression. Although you might initially use them to make yourself feel better, or to distract yourself, they can make you feel worse overall. See our pages on the mental health effects of recreational drugs and alcohol for more information.
How Is Genetics Linked To The Risk Of Depression
We know that depression can sometimes run in families. This suggests that there’s at least a partial genetic link to depression. Children, siblings, and parents of people with severe depression are somewhat more likely to have depression than are members of the general population. Multiple genes interacting with one another in special ways probably contribute to the various types of depression that run in families. Yet despite the evidence of a family link to depression, it is unlikely that there is a single “depression” gene, but rather, many genes that each contribute small effects toward depression when they interact with the environment.
Recommended Reading: Mental Health America Depression Screening
Take Care Of Yourself
You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
Sometimes depression doesnt respond to medication. Your healthcare professional may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms dont improve.
The Main Signals Of Depression + How To Find Healing
In this podcast and blog, I discuss the common signs of depression, why we should never be afraid of seeking help, how we can learn to manage depression, and more!
Depression is something we should never ignore. When we feel depressed, we need to listen to what our mind, brain and body are trying to tell us. Depression is a signal telling us we have something going onthat there is a because of in our life that we need to investigate. The sooner you recognize the signals associated with feelings of depression, the sooner you can make the necessary adjustments to your life and get the help you need to start healing.
But it is important to remember that you are not your depression its not your identity. You experience depressionit does not define you.
Because the mind is how we experience depression, and because the mind is our aliveness , learning how to manage the mind is of paramount importance. This means listening to the signals of depression we experience, not suppressing how we feel, to get to the root , and reconceptualize it.
Essentially, we need to become thought detectives to find the source of our depression. This starts with understanding the signals that the mind, brain, and body send us when we are going through something. These signals alert us TO protect us.
There are 4 main signals: our emotions, our behaviors, our physical symptoms, and our perspective/outlook. Some examples are:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder
Your doctor or a mental health professional can diagnose major depressive disorder based on your symptoms, feelings, and behaviors.
Typically, youll be asked specific questions or given a questionnaire so health professionals can better determine whether you have MDD or another condition.
To be diagnosed with MDD, you need to meet the symptom criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition . This manual helps medical professionals diagnose mental health conditions.
According to its criteria:
- you must experience a change in your previous functioning
- symptoms must occur for a period of 2 or more weeks
- at least one symptom is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure
You must also experience 5 or more of the following symptoms in the 2-week period:
- You feel sad or irritable most of the day, nearly every day.
- Youre less interested in most activities you once enjoyed.
- You suddenly lose or gain weight or have a change in appetite.
- You have trouble falling asleep or want to sleep more than usual.
- You experience feelings of restlessness.
- You feel unusually tired and have a lack of energy.
- You feel worthless or guilty, often about things that wouldnt usually make you feel that way.
- You have difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
- You think about harming yourself or suicide.
Symptoms parents should be aware of in their teens include the following:
Honing In On Your Habits
The root of anxiety isnt always psychological. Your habits may spark or provoke your anxiety, too.
To explore your habits, consider asking yourself:
- Has my anxiety or its intensity increased lately?
- Have my habits changed?
- Have I been drinking more, or feeling progressively worse after drinking?
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Can You Prevent Depression From Happening
While theres no surefire way to prevent depression, one of the greatest protective factors for depression is social connection and social support, says Jessica Stern, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Maintaining healthy friendships and relationships, she says, can potentially significantly decrease the likelihood or severity of depression. Whats more, the chance that an individual will receive care for symptoms of depression is often based on their social situation, Dr. Murrough says. Friends or family notice that someones not themselves, having trouble getting out of bed, and missing activities and appointments, and will help them seek care. Someone whos relatively isolated may be at risk for not getting treatment, and in turn, fall into deeper depression. The key? Nurture your relationships and encourage each other to talk openly about your feelings, without judgment. The more we can de-stigmatize emotions, the more we can help prevent or slow down the progression of negative emotions to depressive symptoms, says Dr. Stern.
Does Depression Often Occur With Grief
Grief is a common, normal response to loss. Losses that may lead to grief include the death or separation of a loved one, loss of a job, death or loss of a beloved pet, or any number of other changes in life, such as divorce, becoming an “empty nester,” or retirement.
Anyone can experience grief and loss, but not everyone will experience clinical depression, which differs from grief in that depression involves a range of other symptoms such as feelings of low self-worth, negative thoughts about the future, and suicide, whereas grief involves feelings of emptiness, loss and longing for a loved one, with an intact capacity to feel pleasure. Each person is unique in how they cope with these feelings.
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Root Causes Of Anxiety And Depression
Chronic Stress And Overwhelm
In times of stress, your brain signals different glands in your body to produce the hormones you need to respond to the stressful situation. This process is known most commonly as fight or flight and one of the glands it involves are the adrenal glands. In this process, your adrenal glands secrete a hormone that youve most likely heard of, adrenaline.
Adrenaline can cause your heart rate to increase, your breathing to become more rapid, and you become more sensitive and aware of any potential threat or danger in your environment. This process is helpful when there is an actual threat or dangerous situation. However, because we live such busy and stressful lives, our adrenals are often working overtime to adjust, even when there is no real threat or danger.
Being in this state of hyperarousal continuously can cause anxiety.
The longer you remain in this state, the more fatigued your adrenals become, which can lead to depression and many of the symptoms that accompany it, like fatigue, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping.
This is something I see often with my patients, but have also experienced myself when I overwork and push myself beyond my natural limits, I start to feel anxiety and overwhelm.
Its important that we take the time to decompress and practice self-care so our adrenal glands dont become stressed and fatigued, so we can avoid this root cause of depression and anxiety.
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What Foods Help Ease Depression
While no specific diet has been proven to relieve depression, a healthy diet can help you feel your best physically and mentally. Certain foods may be linked to brain health and support for memory, alertness, and mood. Examples include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids , antioxidants , and nutrients like choline . Always talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes.
The National Institute Of Mental Health Claims That More Than 26% Of All Americans Over 18 Years Old Suffer From Depression One In Four Adults That Is A Lot Of Unhappy Campers Is This A State Of Existence We Are Forced To Suffer Or Is There A Better Way
For people to make the most out of their lives, they must be happy. There is an expression: God does not dwell but only where there is joy. You want the power of God, the power of your soul, to shine its brilliance on your life? It would be best if you had joy and happiness. One of the purposes of music in the Holy Temple was to elevate the spirits of the Levites while serving God so they could be suitable conduits for the blessings of God to be drawn down.
Depression is a negative, harmful energy God created to test and strengthen us. Like all the negative forces within, its force is mainly form and no substance. For the most part, a person who grew up surrounded by people with faulty perspectives on life will have suffered the influence of this negative energy.
The first step in counteracting this destructive force is to recognize the characteristics of the caustic energy itself.
Let us consider the root of depression, i.e., arrogance and selfishness, all the things our society is about. The root is the attitude of, What can I get out of X?whatever X may be. What is in it for me, and how will it serve me? This has its extremes, but even at the lowest level, let us consider the ramifications of this attitude.
Because he is so self-absorbed, he thinks of himself and not of others and the fact is, if you dont serve others, no one will serve you. Expecting always to be served will leave one disappointed and disillusioned, depressed, dejected, and disheartened.
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New Psychoanalytic Research Demonstrates How Needs And Emotions Are Connected
We are all born with needs that are felt and expressed as emotions. Although we all experience the feelings of desire, fear, attachment, and despair, new research shows how these feelings are connected to our basic needs.
- We need to engage with the world. This is felt as curiosity.
- We need sexual partners. This is felt as lust.
- We need to escape dangerous situations. This is fear.
- We need to destroy those people and things that come between us and satisfaction. This is rage.
- We need to attach to those who look after us. Separation from those who look after us can feel like panic and despair.
Developing healthy ways to meet these needs results in a feeling of well-being. When these are unmet it can result in attempts to meet them in out-moded ways that worked when we were children but are now faulty and unproductive as adults. This can lead to suffering in our current lives, relationships, and at work.
Research demonstrates that psychoanalyticpsychotherapy can help achieve better control over our emotions, more successful relationships, and a more fruitful professional life. In other words, psychoanalytic psychotherapy allows us to unlearn reactions that negatively affect our lives and to learn productive ones.
Unbearable emotions are caused by unmet needs
As this boy becomes a toddler and a teenager his parents continue to be unreliable, and he copes with this rejection by distancing and convincing himself that he does not need them.
How does psychoanalytic therapy work?