WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
When dealing with depression, it’s imperative the mental health practitioner understands that this illness is not caused by a factor, but a combination of many things. The things that we’re talking about are somewhat life issues that we have all dealt with at some point in time. Make makes the case of a depressed patient different is the fact that they have to deal with all these issues simultaneously.
The things that we’re talking about can be grouped into two major categories. We have psychological and biological factors. Many of these factors will interact to cause depression, but we have to dig deeper to understand which specific factors are involved. Also, the factors will differ from one patient to another.
Biological factors are the things that play critical roles in our systems. These include hormones, genes, and brain chemicals. We really cannot eliminate them because we must have them to function as normal human beings.
Back in the day, we never really understood what causes depression because we really didn’t have a lot to work with. But as years went by, we started noticing a pattern and with the help of technology, we could tell this mental illness could actually be inherited or passed down to an offspring through the genes.
Let’s make something clear. We are not saying that if your parent suffered from the illness you’ll most likely inherit it. All we’re saying is, you’ll be more vulnerable to it because of the genes that you inherited. It’s also important to mention that several people have had such genes, but still haven’t recorded any history of mental illness in life.
Medical practitioners in the field have also discovered that depression can be caused by hormonal changes in the system. First off, in case you didn’t know this, the brain is actually a powerful organ. So much goes on in there including changes that caused by different hormones. It’s said that some of these changes could make an individual experience a depressive episode. But the good news is, there are so many medical treatments that can help you get better.
Have you ever heard of neurotransmitters? They are these chemical substances used by nerve cells in our bodies to communicate. It has been reported that patients who suffer from depression have exhibited a reduced activity in these neurotransmitter systems, and thus making the brain have a difficult time trying to regulate other functions such as sleep, sexual drive, appetite, and maybe the way we feel. The reduced level of activity reduces communication, which in a way accounts for the symptoms observed in a depressed patient.
We saw no need of beating around the bush here. The truth is, sometimes we usually feel like we have chips on our shoulders. We normally feel that way because we end up thinking too much about things that quite frankly, should bother us. And that’s how we usually find ourselves battling depression. Therefore, if you know what’s good for you, avoid these thinking patterns:
· Over-stressing the negative
· Always blaming yourself for what goes wrong and not giving yourself enough credit
· Not being flexible enough
· Always thinking other people are out to get you
People deal with loss differently. There are those who will get over the loss in a matter of weeks or months but we also have those that can go up to years. It’s the latter group that we need to worry about because the more they keep thinking about what they have lost, the easier it is to fall into depression.
Sense of failure
If you’re the type of person who stakes his or her happiness in achieving particular goals then you’re exposing yourself to the risk of falling into depression. Just think about it. How will you feel when you finally realize that getting straight ‘As’ in college is not as simple as you once thought?
Even thought this is a no-brainer, people still don’t believe going through a series of stressful events will make you go down a dark path. We usually see other people fight their financial woes, physical illnesses, or marital issues, and we think that they will be okay, but the truth is, they won’t. You need to reach out if you can.
Although we really can’t do much about the type of genes we inherit from our parents, we can at least try to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid falling into depression. Develop a supportive social circle, eat healthy, and try fitness once a while. And if you have already noticed you’re exhibiting signs of depression, reach out to a licensed professional for help.
You should also keep in mind the fact that medication won’t be enough if you still fall back to the same habits that got you there.
Raquel Soteldo RP(Q), MA, ABA, PMP, CCC