Depression is a serious issue that many people around the world are faced with each day – some for a lifetime. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in ten US adults report suffering from depression of some type currently. Unfortunately, it’s easier to identify depression itself than it is to identify the causes of depression.
Healing depression often requires assistance, which relies on discovering the particular depression causes within each individual. Until the root or core issues are discovered and resolved, depression can literally take over one’s life, continuing the trend of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. Although there are many types of depression, getting to the root of those issues may be the key to discovering long-term solutions.
Depression Causes Sadness – But What are the Causes of Depression?
Numerous factors can play a role in what is causing the depressive state. Although scientific evidence has yet to discover precisely what causes depression in some people while it may never affect others. However, some of the most common contributors to depression are believed to involve physical, emotional, or genetic factors or a combination thereof. Common contributors include:
- Major Life Events – Positive or Negative
- Abuse – Physical, Emotional, Sexual
- Serious Illnesses and Certain Medications
- Death or Loss
- Conflicts and Serious Personal Problems
- Substance Abuse
- Genetics and Biology
Major Life Events, Death, Grief, and Depression
Both good and bad experiences concerning life-changing events can overwhelm an individual and become one of the causes of depression. Graduating from college, getting married, having a baby, getting a new job – all positive events – can fuel the depressive state. In retrospect, major incidents like losing a job, getting a divorce, retirement, or a serious injury can have the same effect.
Essentially, everything in the list above qualifies as a major life event with the exception of biology and genetics. Whether positive or negative changes are taking place, most people experience a sense of grief or loss with a major event. Marriage means letting go of your ‘freedoms’ to some extent, and graduation means leaving behind an important time and experience in your life.
It only seems natural to grieve about those incidents just as equally as when experiencing the grief of losing a pet or loved one. Empty nesters and retirees naturally feel grief and a sense of pride simultaneously, and this is why science still struggles to determine – who gets depressed and who doesn’t? Much may come from the genetics and biology of depression, at least what we know about them so far.
Genetic and Biological Links to Depression Causes
What scientists have learned from MRI and CT scans is that a correlation exists between people prone to depression having a smaller hippocampus, a small segment of the brain that stores memories. This smaller size means less presence of serotonin receptors, which fosters feelings of peacefulness, well-being, and happiness. Other research shows that depressed individuals produce excess cortisol, which may have a toxic effect on the hippocampus and contribute to the smaller size theory. However, other experts deduce that some people are born with an undersized hippocampus, making them more susceptible to depression biologically.
Genetic depression causes are even less understood because there has yet been any identification of a depression gene. However, we do know that this condition seems to run in families, which suggests a genetic link to depression. If this is true, the multiple genes would likely be interacting with each other in specific ways that could cause someone to suffer from a particular type of depression that may run in families. With more research, perhaps these medical professionals can find the underlying causes of depression and evolve effective long-term solutions.
Abuse and Depression
Any type of abuse – physical, emotional, or sexual – can cause depression at any time in life, even decades later. Abuse and depression are natural companions, but the ability to determine the abuse as a contributor works to the patients benefit as the time comes to resolve these hurts and issues to heal the depressive state for good. Intensive one-on-one psychotherapy is only one effective method used to resolve depression causes such as abuse at our Sunset Malibu respite.
Medical Conditions and Medications as Causes of Depression
Medical issues, particularly chronic and critical ones, can certainly contribute to the state of depression. Diabetes, MS, HIV, hypothyroidism, arthritis, lupus – many illnesses give one good reason to feel a bit down. Those suffering with critical illnesses may have issue specific needs to contend with, and this is certainly one of the most common causes of depression, particularly in younger populations who aren’t prepared for death. Altering lifestyle habits can often alleviate certain symptoms of chronic conditions that affect your well-being and emotional health, but those that cause chronic pain may not be so easily resolved and will likely involve a regimen of medications and therapy.
Certain medications are known to contribute to the depressive state, particular beta-blockers, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines, particularly in the elderly population. Other depression causing drugs include opioids like codeine and morphine, corticosteroids, and anticholinergics often sought out for stomach cramps can cause mania – the complete opposite of depression! Before undergoing treatment, patients will be fully screened for any potential medical conditions and drug interactions that may be considered possible depression causes.
Substance Abuse and Depression
Studies indicate that approximately 30 percent of those who abuse substances like drugs and alcohol suffer from some form of depression. It is believed that many depressed individuals turn to these substances in an effort to mask their symptoms of depression or to make themselves temporarily feel better. Substance abuse can make identifying the existence of clinical or major depression even harder as they can mask one’s true emotions or surface as violent or negative reactions at times. Part of treating both substance abuse and depression may involve a period of detox.
Help for Depression is a Call Away at Our Malibu Depression Treatment Center
At Sunset Malibu, we will help you explore the causes of depression that are unique to you and only you. Our unique combination of traditional and holistic approaches can help you begin to heal and conquer your depression.