Causes of Depression and the Bad Side of a Possible Good

Am I Depressed or Lazy? How To Tell The Difference

Let there be no doubt that depression is a serious mental illness that sometimes requires months and years of treatment on the road to a cure.  Hippocrates referred to depression as melancholia, which literally means black bile. Black bile, along with blood, phlegm, and yellow bile were the four humors (fluids) that described the basic medical physiology theory of that time. Depression, also referred to as clinical depression, has been portrayed in literature and the arts for hundreds of years, but what do we mean today when we refer to a depressive disorder? In the 19th century, depression was seen as an inherited weakness of temperament. In the first half of the 20th century, Freud linked the development of depression to guilt and conflict. John Cheever, the author and a modern sufferer of depressive disorder, wrote of conflict and experiences with his parents as influencing his development of depression.

Each year, millions of people come to the realization that they suffer from How to Overcome Loneliness After a Breakup.  To make things worse it is estimated that only a third of those who suffer the disease will ever seek treatment.  Because depression is considered a mental affliction, many sufferers shy away from seeking help from a doctor.  Instead of being considered mentally ill, people try to manage the problem themselves.  Depression is more common- place than you might think and it will not go away on its own.

Depression has no single cause; often, it results from a combination of things. You may have no idea why depression has struck you.

Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

Some of the more common factors involved in depression are:

    * Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.

    * Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.

    * Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia).

    * Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.

    * Other psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (especially) substance abuse often appear along with depression.

Why do people get depression?  The answer can get very complicated because you have to take many factors into consideration.  The list is quite long. Let’s list a few of the contributing factors to depression.  A chemical imbalance is widely considered to be the main cause for depression.  Why does this chemical problem in the brain happen?  Typically the causes stem from biological, genetic, physical, mental and environmental implications.  In many cases the underlying cause is never identified.  Depression often follows diagnosis of other medical conditions, particularly those that result in imminent death or are chronic.

Scientists do not know why the hippocampus is smaller in those with depression. Some researchers have found that the stress hormone cortisol is produced in excess in depressed people. These investigators believe that cortisol has a toxic or poisonous effect on the hippocampus. Some experts theorize that depressed people are simply born with a smaller hippocampus and are therefore inclined to suffer from depression.

Another cause of depression can be the emotional pain felt after losing a loved one.  In many cases the loss can be very traumatic. Long periods of emotional, sexual or other physical abuses can result in depression.  When people abuse drugs and/or alcohol the result is often depression.  People’s mental states are fragile.  If exposed to the wrong pressures, depression can result.  There can also be a genetic element to depression.  Those afflicted have a family history of the disease .  Oddly, many drugs including those that regulate depression or anxiety can cause depression.  High blood pressure medication can result in depression. 

One of the major causes of depression is stress.  Stress can derive from many different areas in our life.  It’s not well known, but it’s true, that stress can result from the pressures associated with positive events such as a new, high paying job.  The unknown is often the root cause of this stress, whether it be positive or negative.  Arguments with family members, disputes with business clients can both cause stress. 

The causes of clinical depression are likely to be different for different people. Sometimes a depressive episode can appear to come out of nowhere at a time when everything seems to be going fine. Other times, depression may be directly related to a significant event in our lives such as losing a loved one, experiencing trauma, or battling a chronic illness.

Research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters-chemicals that brain cells use to communicate-appear to be out of balance. But these images do not reveal why the depression has occurred.

Scientists believe genetic factors play a role in some depressions. Researchers are hopeful, for instance, that they are closing in on genetic markers for susceptibility to manic-depressive disorder.

Depression in adolescence comes at a time of great personal change-when boys and girls are forming an identity distinct from their parents, grappling with gender issues and emerging sexuality, and making decisions for the first time in their lives. Depression in adolescence frequently co-occurs with other disorders such as anxiety, disruptive behavior, eating disorders or substance abuse. It can also lead to increased risk for suicide.

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