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.
How To Treat Depression
If youre feeling depressed, its important to seek help. Depression is treatable, and talking to a licensed healthcare provider is an excellent first step towards overcoming your depression and working towards recovery.
Depression can be treated through medication, therapy and certain changes to your habits and lifestyle.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressants to improve your mood and treat your depression. These work by increasing your production of neurotransmitters that regulate your moods and feelings.
Common types of antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and others. Our guide to antidepressants goes into more detail about the medications used to treat depression.
Although antidepressants are effective, you may not notice their effects right away. It generally takes four to eight weeks before youll notice any improvement in your symptoms.
Often, the cause of your depression will play a role in determining the most effective treatment method for you.
If suitable, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take part in psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy .
These forms of therapy can teach you new methods of thinking and behavioral approaches to overcome depression. In certain cases, your healthcare provider may recommend other forms of therapy.
Finally, you may be able to improve your recovery from depression by making certain changes to your habits and lifestyle, such as:
Seven Of The Most Common Causes Of Depression
Now that you know all about depression and the things it does to your body, its essential to understand why you become depressed in the first place. There are many misconceptions about this mental illness, and its time to bring some understanding to such a widespread condition. Here are the most common causes of depression.
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If My Mother Or Father Was Depressed Will I Be Depressed
Depression can be transmitted in families in several ways. Parents and children may share an array of genes that create susceptibility to depression. Even more subtly, parents may engage in depressive thinking and explanatory styles that children acquire unwittingly in the air they breathe every day at home while growing up.
There is considerable evidence that when mothers of young children are depressed, they fail to engage with their children. As a result, babies do not acquire the strong emotional bond that enables them to grow, to withstand stress, to develop emotional regulation, and to become responsive to others. Treating depressed mothers is often the best way to treat problems in children.
Life Expectancy And The Risk Of Suicide
Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, in part because people who are depressed are at risk of dying of suicide. Up to 60% of people who die of suicide have a mood disorder such as major depression, and the risk is especially high if a person has a marked sense of hopelessness or has both depression and borderline personality disorder. About 2â8% of adults with major depression die by suicide, and about 50% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder. The lifetime risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of major depression in the US is estimated at 3.4%, which averages two highly disparate figures of almost 7% for men and 1% for women . The estimate is substantially lower than a previously accepted figure of 15%, which had been derived from older studies of people who were hospitalized.
Depressed people have a higher rate of dying from other causes. There is a 1.5- to 2-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of other known risk factors, and is itself linked directly or indirectly to risk factors such as smoking and obesity. People with major depression are less likely to follow medical recommendations for treating and preventing cardiovascular disorders, further increasing their risk of medical complications.Cardiologists may not recognize underlying depression that complicates a cardiovascular problem under their care.
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Ongoing Mood Cognitive Changes May Require Professional Help
Depression is not only hard to endure, it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia. “Depressive symptoms can occur in adults for many reasons. If you are experiencing mood or cognitive changes that last for more than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to bring this up with your doctor or consult a mental health specialist to help sort out possible causes,” says Dr. Nancy Donovan, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.The four most common types of depression are major depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.
Major depression. The classic depression type, major depression is a state where a dark mood is all-consuming and one loses interest in activities, even ones that are usually pleasurable. Symptoms of this type of depression include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication. For some people with severe depression that isn’t alleviated with psychotherapy or antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be effective.
Intake Of Certain Medications
Certain medications can lead to depression in adults. These are drugs such as the common anti acne medicine, isotretinoin, corticosteroids and interferon alpha, used to treat viruses.
The effects of depression usually stem from the side effects of these drugs, which include a feeling of discouragement, despair and sadness.
If youve long been prescribed any of these medications and you can observe serious changes in your mood, then your best solution is to ask for alternative medicine.
There could be certain chemical compounds in that medicine thats causing that adverse effect on you.
Do make sure that a doctor is helping you out with this change.
Dont just immediately stop your medication, as doing so can lead to abrupt withdrawal symptoms.
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Sudden And Stressful Changes
During the infamous Wall Street Crash of 1929, which led to the loss of billions of dollars and laid the foundation for the Great Depression, 23,000 people committed suicide at the time, the highest number of suicides ever in one year.
While the number of people who killed themselves due to anxiety and depression cannot be ascertained it is fair to assume that the mental illness had played a role.
Family History & Genetics
A family history of depression is another significant risk factor. You are more likely to experience symptoms of depression if others in your family also have depression or another type of mood disorder. Estimates suggest that depression is approximately 40% determined by genetics.
Twin, adoption, and family studies have linked depression to genetics. While studies suggest that there is a strong genetic component, researchers are not yet certain about all the genetic risk factors for depression.
Researchers have found that having a parent and grandparent with depression doubles the risk of depression.
It is still unclear exactly which genes play a role in depression and other mood disorders, but researchers do know that there are many different genes that can play a role. By better understanding how they function, gene researchers hope to be able to create more effective treatments.
It is important to remember that no single cause of depression acts in isolation. Genetic factors may be a major risk factor, but scientists also believe that genes and the environment interact to control exactly how these genes are expressed.
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Disconnection From Past Trauma
It may seem counterintuitive to deem disconnection from past trauma as one of the causes of depression and anxiety: If youre not thinking about the terrible things that happened to you, shouldnt you be happy? However, trauma affects us in powerful ways, many of which operate subconsciouslyin other words, just because youre not thinking or talking about the trauma doesnt mean its not still impacting your life and contributing to depression, even decades later. Childhood trauma is one of the most reliable predictors of adult depression, and fully processing that trauma by facing it head-on is a powerful way to begin healing depression.
Scientists still dont know exactly how childhood trauma causes adult depression, but Hari has his own theory based on the fact that people who experienced trauma as a child often irrationally blame themselves for what happened. He argues that this impulse starts out as a coping mechanismwhen kids experience trauma, blaming themselves is a way of taking back control. In the short term, that sense of control is a reliefespecially when the alternative is feeling totally powerless in a big, scary worldbut in the long run, the false idea that the trauma was their fault and that they deserved what happened creates a deep emotional wound.
What You Should Remember
If you are experiencing clinical depression, it is vital to seek help as soon as possible.
In minor cases, therapy and medication can be all thats needed to ease the symptoms.
On the other hand, in severe cases, it is wise to opt for the extra support and care that rehabilitation centers can offer anyone suffering from clinical depression and various other conditions that affect mental wellbeing.
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Common Causes Of Anxiety & Depression
Dont believe everything you hear even in your own mind. Dr. Daniel Amen
Most people that have to deal with anxiety and depression are unable to provide an exact reason to why they were afflicted in the first place. Aside from an individual experiencing a traumatic event , comprehending what exactly happened to cause anxiety and depression is often a futile endeavor.
In most instances, depression and anxiety does not have a single cause. Medical professionals state that depression and anxiety surfaces from a mix of factors: genes, past experience, current circumstances, and others.
Understanding the reason why one is suffering from chronic depression and anxiety is not the most important thing. It is important that people with the disorders understand that it is not their fault. Depression and anxiety is a mental disease and similar to physical diseases can affect anyone.
Certain lifestyle choices of experiences, however, can contribute to or directly cause depression and anxiety. The condition may be acute or chronic it all depends on the mix we discussed earlier knowing this is a source of power, as we can counteract some of the things that instigate the conditions.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Depression
Studies consistently show that depression is most associated with the number of stressors experienced in life, and the effect is cumulativethe more stresses that accrue over time, the greater the likelihood of getting depressed. The loss of an important relationship by death or divorce is experienced by most people as a major stress requiring significant adjustment.
Loneliness is both a physical and emotional stressor, and rates of loneliness, known to be high among the elderly, are sharply rising among the young, who increasingly report having no close friends. Job loss or the threat of job loss are almost invariably sources of constant worry. In the absence of a wide array of coping skills, even minor bumps on lifes journey can become significant stressors.
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Past Trauma And/or Abuse
Trauma and abuse, especially when they occur during your childhood, may increase your risk of developing depression as an adult.
A range of traumatic events are associated with depression, as well as mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder . Approximately half of all people with PTSD also suffer from major depressive disorder.
You may have a higher risk of developing depression and other mental health issues if you have experienced any of the following as a child:
Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
Physical or emotional neglect
Domestic violence, as a victim or witness
Other issues within your childhood household, such as substance abuse, parental separation or mental illness, may also increase your risk of developing mental health issues as an adult.
How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
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Common Risk Factors For Depression
Certain factors, such as major changes in your life or stress, can make you more vulnerable to depression. These are often referred to as depression risk factors.
People often become depressed when a combination of different factors all take a toll on their mood and quality of life.
For example, being diagnosed with a medical condition can result in financial hardship, stress, reduced social contact and other sudden life changes. This combination of factors can lead to an increased risk of developing depression.
Below, you can find more information about the most common risk factors for depression:
Depression Can Look Different Depending On A Persons Cultural Background
Signs and symptoms of depression can look different depending on the person and their cultural background. People from different cultures may express emotions, moods, and mood disorders including depression in different ways. In some cultures, depression may be displayed as physical symptoms, such as aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.
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Antenatal And Postnatal Depression
Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy and in the year following childbirth . This time frame may also be referred to as the perinatal period.
The causes of depression at this time can be complex and are often the result of a combination of factors. In the days immediately following birth, many women experience the baby blues, which is a common condition related to hormonal changes, affecting up to 80 per cent of women who have given birth.
The baby blues, or the general stress of adjusting to pregnancy or a new baby, are common experiences, but are different from depression.
Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the childs development, the mothers relationship with her partner and with other members of the family.
Up to one in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.
How Do I Know If I Have Depression
Everyone has moments, or even days, of diminished mood or sadness. This is normal and should not be an immediate cause of concern, but rather a sign that you are a healthy emotional being. You may be experiencing depression, however, if you have a sense of hopelessness that has become prolonged over two weeks or more.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a resource that compiles the expertise of over 160 medical doctors and clinicians worldwide. This manual outlines 157 medical disorders and provides pertinent information about their definitions, symptoms, rates of occurrence, possible causes, treatments and more. The DSM-5 lists two main criteria for clinical depression: depressed mood and anhedonia, or a lack of pleasure from things that used to be enjoyable. One or both of these symptoms must be present to consider diagnosis.
Additionally, the DSM-5 lists the following symptoms of depression and states that five must endure for two or more weeks.
- Withdrawal from social settings
- Suicidal thoughts or self harm.
If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms, it may be time to reach out and seek help.
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What Happens In The Brain With Depression
Many people believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Experts explain that depression is far more complex and that it is unproductive to think of depression as a brain disease that is primarily biological.
Instead, depression can be viewed as a behavioral shutdown in response to overwhelmingly negative situations in which you have little personal control, lack resources for dealing with them, and have little comfort in the way of social support. The response is reflected in many operations of the brain, such as difficulty with memory, sluggishness of thinking, inability to feel pleasure, loss of appetite and interest in sex, and heightened perception of pain.
Neuroimaging studies indeed show changes in brain function among depressed people, and they are generally associated with impairments of connectivity among brain areas that normally work together. Studies also show that such changes are reversible as depression lifts.
Existing Mental Health Problems
If you already struggle with a mental health condition, or have had mental health problems in the past, this also increases your chances of developing depression.
Also, depression is also a symptom of a number of other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, eating disorders and anxiety. Depression can also complicate other conditions such as anxiety disorders and psychosis, making it even more difficult to cope with depression,
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