Common Causes And Risk Factors
Depression can be caused by a number of factors. Though a single cause cannot always be found, experts recognize the following as possible causes:
- Genetics: Depression and other mood disorders can run in families, though family history alone does not mean a person will get depression.
- Life events: Major life changes and stressful events may trigger depression. These events include divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, or financial problems.
- Hormonal changes: Depression and low mood are often
- cultural expectations
- differences in experience
One study of twin brothers and sisters published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that personality and relationships with others were more likely to play a role in the onset of depression.
In particular, the study stated that marital problems, the relationship with parents, and lack of social support were more likely to cause depression in women than in men.
Neuroticism, or being in a negative emotional state, was also a primary cause of depression in the women studied.
A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders also found that womens symptoms of depression were different. The women studied were more likely to have panic and anxiety disorders in addition to their depression.
Other studies have indicated that women may be more likely to gain weight and have excessive sleepiness than men.
Womens hormone changes may also play a role in how and when depression affects them.
Research on this hormonal link has found:
Its All Part Of Gods Plan
While of course everyone has their own beliefs, comments like this are not very helpful.
Remember, the person may not share your spiritual beliefs and even if they do, they may already be wrestling with different emotions such as feeling ashamed or worried that God is somehow punishing or testing them for something they have done.
Also, for someone who is struggling with their faith or spirituality, this might actually push them further away.
And no, mental illness is not the work of the devil or being possessed yes, we have heard that one before too.
The Good Days Are Relatively Normal
A good day is me being able to get up before or right at my alarm, shower, and put on my face. I can push through being around people, as my job as a software trainer calls me to. Im not crabby or anxiety-ridden. I can push through the evening and have conversations with co-workers without feeling total despair. On a good day, I have focus and mental clarity. I feel like a capable, productive person.
Christian, software trainer, Dallas
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You Cant Just Snap Out Of Depression
Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to snap out of it, just be positive, or you can be happier if you just try harder. But depression is not a sign of a persons weakness or a character flaw. The truth is that most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.
If you are a friend or family member of a woman with depression, you can offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. But never dismiss her feelings. Encourage her to talk to her health care provider, and remind her that, with time and treatment, she can feel better.
Just Try To Be Positive
Suggesting that someone can treat their mental illness with a simple attitude adjustment is unrealistic its a little like telling someone with diabetes to think happy thoughts instead of giving them insulin.
Mental illnesses can be serious conditions, and often require treatment to match. If only it was as simple as turning that frown upside down!
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Finding A Professional In Your Area
Psychiatrist : A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses, including substance abuse and addiction.
- American Psychiatric Associationwww.psych.orgProvides free information on depression and referrals to psychiatrists in your area.
Psychologist : Licensed to practice psychotherapy and has special training in psychological testing. Although referred to as âdoctor,â a psychologist cannot prescribe medications.
- American Psychological Associationwww.apa.orgVisit APAâs website for more information about depression, or call the toll-free number to be referred to a psychologist in your area.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker : Licensed to practice psychotherapy, with special training in addressing the person-in-environment. Has specialized training in human behavior, family behavior, psychology, and problem solving. Has a Masterâs degree in Social Work with two years of supervised post-graduate work providing clinical treatment.
- National Association of Social Workerswww.naswdc.orgProvides free information on depression and referrals to social workers in your area.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists : Licensed to practice psychotherapy and is trained to diagnose and treat mental health issues. Works with individuals, couples, families and groups. Has a Masterâs degree in Counseling Psychology with supervised postgraduate work.
Depression Is A Mental Illness And Should Be Taken Seriously
One would think that an illness that affects 17.3 million people and is closely correlated with suicidal ideation, drug use disorder, and drastic drops in productivity is taken very seriously. One would think that given the impact depression has on our lives, it would be our collective responsibility to identify and treat it in friends, family members, and all of society. But the reality is much more cynical. While many identify depression as a serious problem, theres a stark stigma against mental illnesses in general, and even primary care physicians fail to properly address their own bias against mental health problems.
The simple truth of the matter is that, either consciously or subconsciously, most people dont take depression as seriously as other chronic conditions, such as chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. Patients with depression are less likely to get adequate care, adequate follow-up care, or even find the care they need to begin with. A mere fraction of people approximated to have major depressive disorder seek or receive treatment and even fewer go through with the treatment they receive. Depression is a severe mental illness and it is treatable.
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Recurring Chronic Manageable And Undertreated
Depression is often recurring, sometimes chronic, and sometimes very severe. Yet it is always serious, affecting more than just the mind. While primary care physicians are not specialized to treat patients with depressive disorders , they are more often than not the first professionals a person is likely to go to in the event that they suspect they are depressed.
While some effort is being made to help screen for depression among people through their regular checkups, theres not much effort in actually treating the depression once it has been identified despite the fact that depression is very treatable.
It takes courage to go to a professional about your mental health issues, even today. While much progress has been made on educating the public about mental illness, theres still a prevailing stigma in society that depression is not as serious as other illnesses, and that many of the symptoms presented by people with depression are character faults rather than a part of the condition.
This stigma makes it difficult to convince the many teens and adults who struggle with depressive symptoms to come forward and seek help. Cost is another issue. Effective and timely treatments for depression are not always covered by health insurance.
These factors all come together to highlight a serious problem: depression, like many other mental illnesses, is recognized yet often left untreated, partly due to lack of resources and partly due to bias and ignorance.
Why Dont People Take Depression Seriously
This is one question that I hear most often from sufferers of depression. Indeed, when I was suffering I didnt tell anyone that I felt depressed because I felt that they wouldnt understand what I was going through.
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One of the worst symptoms of depression is the feeling of loneliness. This is the result of the endless negative feeling that no one seems to understand. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone about your depression if you feel that you wont be taken seriously. This is why so many people suffering from depression fail to get the support they need, they really need someone to listen to them. However, many depression sufferers keep their suffering to themselves.
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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:
Are The Signs Of Untreated Depression In Men Different From Those In Women
Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit more anger, frustration, and violent behavior than women. In addition, men with untreated depression may take dangerous risks such as reckless driving and having unsafe sex. Men are not aware that physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, can be symptoms of depression.
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Things People With High
Even though it might not be obvious, getting through the day is exhausting.
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
It can be difficult to spot the signs of someone with high-functioning depression. Thats because, on the outside, they often appear completely fine. They go to work, accomplish their tasks, and keep up relationships. And as theyre going through the motions to maintain their day-to-day life, inside theyre screaming.
Everyone talks about depression and anxiety, and it means different things to different people, says Dr. Carol A. Bernstein, professor of psychiatry and neurology at NYU Langone Health.
High-functioning depression isnt a diagnostic category from a medical standpoint. People can feel depressed, but the question with depression is for how long, and how much does it interfere with our capacity to go on with life?
Theres no difference between depression and high-functioning depression. Depression ranges from mild to moderate to severe. In 2016, about 16.2 million Americans had at least one episode of major depression.
But being able to get through the day doesnt mean its easy. Here are what seven people had to say about what its like to live and work with high-functioning depression.
Myth: People With Mental Health Needs Even Those Who Are Managing Their Mental Illness Cannot Tolerate The Stress Of Holding Down A Job
Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.
When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:
- Lower total medical costs
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But The Bad Days Are Unbearable
Now for a bad day I fight with myself to wake up and have to truly shame myself into showering and getting myself together. I put on makeup alert people about my internal issues. I dont want to talk or be bothered by anyone. I fake being personable, as I have rent to pay and dont want to complicate my life any more than it is.
After work, I just want to go to my hotel room and mindlessly scroll on Instagram or YouTube. Ill eat junk food, and feel like a loser and demean myself.
I have more bad days than good, but Ive gotten good at faking it so my clients think Im a great employee. Im often sent kudos for my performance. But inside, I know that I didnt deliver at the level I know I could.
A Lack Of Standardization
Quantitative scales help researchers measure and organize symptoms, as well as designate a cutoff point for whats considered severe depression for the purpose of a specific study. However, methodologies vary between studies and researchers, meaning there isnt a single definition of severe depression across the board.
A lack of standardization means that if a persons depression symptoms are assessed with different scales by different providers, the diagnosis may not be consistent. Some providers dont use them in clinical practice unless a patient is taking medications, whereas others use them regularly.
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What Is The Link Between Smoking And Mental Health Conditions
Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population.6 About 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by persons with mental health conditions.6 Why smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is uncertain. More research is needed to determine this. No matter the cause smoking is not a treatment for depression or anxiety. Getting help for your depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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You Have To Prove That Youre Struggling And Need Help
Living with high-functioning depression is very hard. Even though you can go through work and life and mostly get things done, youre not getting them done to your full potential.
Beyond that, no one really believes youre struggling because your life isnt falling apart yet. I was suicidal and close to ending it all in university and no one would believe me because I wasnt failing out of school or dressing like a complete mess. At work, its the same. We need to believe people when they ask for support.
Lastly, a lot of mental health services have needs-based requirements, where you have to appear a certain amount of depressed to get support. Even if my mood is really low and I am constantly considering suicide, I have to lie about my functioning to be able to access services.
Alicia, mental health speaker/writer, Toronto
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.
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Why Children And Young People Need Childline
Children dont always know who to trust with their worries. Without a safe place to turn, they can put their trust in the wrong person or keep their fears to themselves. Home isnt a safe place for every child, and the pandemic made even more children feel trapped, lonely, and unsure who to trust.
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to the counsellor I spoke to this morning. I dont know what I would have done if you had not been there to talk to. You made me feel so much better about myself and gave me hope that maybe I will make it. I am so grateful for everything you have done. I was able to feel like my feelings are valid and that I have worth and a reason to live.”Girl aged 14
Childline gives every child access to free, confidential support whenever they need it. In 2020/21, we delivered 76,000 councilling sessions to children and the young people contacting us for the first time. Childline is always here to listen, whatever their worry.
Childline is here for children and young people wherever and whenever they need us. Feedback from young people has told us:
- Childline helps them feel less alone with their problems
- Childline helps them see their problems from a new perspective
- Talking about problems with Childline helps them open up with other people.
In 2018 we created childline.org.uk/kids specifically for children under-12, to ensure our information is accessible for young people of all ages.