Many Factors Can Cause Depression
The cause of depression isn’t always completely understood, and many believe that this mental health condition is often the result of a combination of factors. The many causes of depression can include:
Other potential causes of depression include the presence of a physical health condition that often co-occurs with this diseasesuch as cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’sor taking medications that have depression as a side effect.
Depression And Gender: Is It Different In Men And Women
When it comes to depression, there is a distinct gender gap. Depression is nearly twice as common in women as in men, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Hormonal and other biological factors play a role in this disparity. After all, only women can have premenstrual or postpartum depression. The same is true of antepartum depression depression during pregnancy which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates affects one in seven women.
But women also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and persistent depressive disorder, note Harvard Health experts. The reasons for this are cause for speculation. Some researchers believe that environmental factors, such as the different stressors and expectations that society places on women, are an important factor. Others theorize that men and women actually have depression at similar rates, but that women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help.
How Many Women Experience Depression And Postpartum Depression
Depression is a common and serious illness. A CDC study shows that about 1 in 10 women in the United States reported symptoms that suggest they experienced an episode of major depression in the last year. Using the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System , CDC research shows about 1 in 8 women with a recent live birth experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Estimates of the number of women affected by postpartum depression differ by age, race/ethnicity, and state. View your states prevalence of postpartum depressive symptoms using PRAMS.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health. Many people are experiencing grief and facing challenges that can be stressful and overwhelming. To find information about taking care of your mental health and coping with stress and grief, visit Stress and Coping.
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Information For Family Carers And Friends
You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.
Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services website:www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/what-benefits-are-available-for-mental-health-carers/
You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.
You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.
You can find out more information about:
How can I support the person that I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.
Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.
You can find out more information about:
You can find more information about:
If You Or Someone You Love Has Depression
If you or someone you love is showing signs of depression, you may wonder what steps to take. You can begin by learning more about depression, including its symptoms and treatment as well as myths, misunderstandings, and stigmas. This can provide a better picture of what to expect and make you a better-informed patient or caregiver.
Set up an appointment with a medical doctor or mental health professional. They can do a physical exam, run blood tests to rule out any medical conditions that mimic depression, and refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment.
During the visit, you might also ask your doctor or therapist for reputable sources of depression information and support. They may be able to connect you with area resources that specialize in depression diagnosis or treatment.
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Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
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.
- Consider mindfulness, a technique you can learn to be fully engaged in the present. Studies show it can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
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Getting Help That’s Right For You
There are mental health professionals at headspace centres and eheadspace who can help. If youre at school, TAFE or uni, you may also be able to access a counselling or student wellbeing service. An important part of professional support can be talking therapy. This can help you learn more about how your depression works and how to address how you feel. In certain instances, your general practitioner might also suggest antidepressant medications. The GP or service you reach out to will help to recommend an approach that works for you.
Children Are Not Immune To Depression
It’s a myth that childhood is always a joyful, carefree time. While children may not experience the same issues as adults, such as work-related stress or financial pressures, this doesn’t mean that they can’t become depressed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 4.4% of children aged 3 to 17 are diagnosed with depression, or roughly 2.7 million in total. Additionally, 73.8% of children with depression also have anxiety and 47.2% have behavior problems.
Childhood brings its own unique set of stressors, such as bullying and the struggle for peer acceptance. Children can also feel stressed about schoolwork, sports, bodily changes, or issues going on at home, like if their parents are going through a separation or divorce.
Signs of depression in children include:
- Changes in eating habits
- No longer enjoying activities they once loved
- Reduced energy levels
- Trouble at school
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Depression And The Link Between Suicide And Self Harm
Some young people who experience depression self harm or experience thoughts of suicide. Self harm and thoughts about suicide are often ways of trying to cope with difficult emotions.
If you have thoughts of suicide or self harm its really important to talk to someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, an Elder or teacher.
You can also develop a safety plan yourself to help cope with feelings of distress and suicidal thoughts by using the BeyondNow app.
What Is Treatment Resistant Depression And Is There Any Help For It
If youve tried at least two different antidepressants and your depression hasnt improved, you may be diagnosed with treatment resistant depression . TRD is a serious condition that has been highly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Nearly 33 percent of people with TRD attempt suicide in their lifetime, more than double the rate of their treatment-responsive peers, according to a recent report in Psychiatry Advisor. It is not, however, a hopeless condition. A number of alternative treatment approaches are available, including:
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Depression Doesn’t Always Have A Good Reason
Sometimes people become depressed for what seems like a “good” reasonmaybe they lost their job or a family member passed away. However, with clinical depression, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a reason for how you feel.
In fact, 16 million adults have depression without experiencing a negative event or facing some type of life change. This can lead to reduced compassion from others, simply because they don’t understand that depression can exist without a trigger or external stressor.
One explanation for this is that depression has been linked to an imbalance in the neurotransmitters that help regulate moods. The theory is that having too much or too little of these chemical messengers can cause depression.
So, the brain chemicals that are responsible for your mood may be out of balance, causing you to feel bad even when everything in your life is seemingly going well.
What Treatment Should I Be Offered
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.
Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.
NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Everyone who may have depression
Your doctor should offer you:
- an assessment of your symptoms,
- support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
- information on how to deal with your symptoms,
- monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 2: Mild to moderate depression
Your doctor may offer you:
- low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- physical activity programmes,
- group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked
Your doctor may suggest:
Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:
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Depression Changes Your Body And Brain
Depression includes changes to your body and brain. Parts of the limbic system, the brains center of basic emotions, actually shrink in size and have reduced function with depression. And an area called the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex , in the front part of our brain central to motivation, judgment, and sophisticated emotions, shows lower amounts of activity with depression.
People with depression also tend to have reduced immune function, constricted blood vessels, lower energy, sleep disturbances, weight changes, and increased risk of heart attack.
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How Depression Affects Fathers
Some fathers also report symptoms of depression. To better understand the experiences of fathers, PRAMS implemented a PRAMS for Dads pilot project. The pilot projectexternal icon in Georgia found 1 in 10 fathers reported depressive symptoms since the birth of their new baby. Studies such as PRAMS for Dads can help quantify mens health behaviors and service needs.
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Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression
The Society of Clinical Psychology rates several types of psychotherapy as highly effective treatments for depression:
- Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
- Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
- Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve the real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
- Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.
Depression Statistics: Disturbing Trends Helpful Treatment
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who, like Kashuk, know exactly what it means to be depressed. An estimated 17.3 million, or 7 percent, of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
Whats more, a recent report from Mental Health America, a nonprofit founded in 1909, offers startling statistics pertaining to one of depression’s most disturbing symptoms: thoughts of suicide.
According to its 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, suicidal ideation among adults increased by 0.15 percent between the 2016-2017 calendar year and the 2017-2018 calendar year, the most recent years for which statistics are available.
There is a bright side. Although there is no one-size-fits-all cure for depression, there are many effective treatment options, one of which is bound to help you heal if youre struggling with the illness. This cannot be emphasized enough, given that roughly two-thirds of people living with depression do not receive the care they need, according to a report in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, published online February 22, 2019.
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What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
Who Is At Risk For Depression
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the likelihood that youll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
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The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
5 Minute Read
Depression isnt always obvious it doesnt just open the door and announce itself. Instead, depression is different for everyone and can include a range of feelings and experiences. According to Julia Hoffman, PsyD,
Depression looks different for everyone. Although depression can come on suddenly, it can also be a constant state of mind that builds over time. People also experience different types of depression symptoms: to some it can feel like profound sadness and to others like a complete lack of emotions. Some people may sleep all day and others have trouble sleeping at all.
A lot of people experience depression without being sure thats whats going on. Understanding what you are experiencing to see if it is consistent with the signs and symptoms of depression is the first step toward doing something about it.
Symptoms of depression include: