Depression is an extremely debilitating illness that can affect every area of a person’s life, as anyone who has ever suffered from depression will know all too well.
But because depression is a mental illness it can be hard to diagnose and past stigmas and statements around depression simply being “all in your head” or “not a real illness”, or “just someone feeling sad” has meant that many people (especially men) have been reluctant to get the treatment they need.
The World Health Organisation states that depression is one of the most debilitating disorders in the world. In fact it is so common that it is estimated that more than 1 million Australians suffer depression each year. And there is a growing body of research to suggest that depression can also lead to…
- Heart Disease
- And many other mental illnesses such as anxiety and schizophrenia
Everyone can feel sad, moody or just a little low at times but for people who are experiencing depression often these feelings don’t go away. People experiencing depression can have intense feelings for long periods of time and sometimes for no apparent reason.
Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. Thankfully people are becoming more educated about depression as more research and public awareness is helping to bring this crippling disorder out of the shadows.
What Causes Depression
Modern research has found that there is no one cause of depression, and while we are learning more each year there is still a lot that is unknown about the illness. One thing we do know is that people suffering from depression experience changes in their brain chemistry which prescription drugs aim to regulate, but there are more effective ways to treat depression which we will touch on shortly
First let’s look at some of the common causes that can lead to depression:
If you have a history of depression in your family in may increase your likelihood of experiencing depression yourself. Though it is thought to be a very complex trait that can be hard to trace, meaning it isn’t necessarily passed from one generation to the next.
Grief from the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a relationship can trigger the onset of depression. Although the loss of a loved one will obviously bring about sadness and low mood in anyone, it is when these feelings persist well past when the natural grieving stage that it could indicate the onset of depression.
Substance Abuse & Smoking
Substance abuse can both cause and result from depression. Around 30% of people with drug and alcohol abuse problems also suffer from major or clinical depression
Other Medical Conditions and Prescription Drugs
Research has found that drugs such as isotretinoin (used for acne treatment), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, may increase your risk of experiencing depression. Also the stress, worry and physical pain caused by serious illness or injury can also bring on depression.
Stressful Or Major Life Events
At times of increased stress and change you may be more susceptible to depression. In fact even positive events such as getting a new job or graduating can sometimes cause depression.
Changes In Hormone Levels (especially in women)
During puberty, pregnancy and menopause the risk of depression increases dramatically for women. This is also true after giving birth or having a miscarriage
Past traumatic experiences such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can trigger depression, and this can sometime occur even much later in life.
As daylight hours get shorter, and we receive less sunshine during the cooler months, many people often develop lethargy, tiredness and loss of interest in every day tasks. This seasonal depression is called season affective disorder, or SAD, and this condition usually goes away once the days get longer.
Although it’s less well known internet addiction and overload from social media is becoming known for causing depression in teens especially. With kids spending more and more time inside with technology “Internet addicts” may struggle with real-life human interaction and a lack of companionship, and they may have an unrealistic view of the world.
There are obviously many forms of addiction and this is only one of them.
Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
How Is Depression Diagnosed?
To diagnose depression your doctor will do a full examination, including medical history. Depression cannot be tested for using blood tests, your doctor will ask you questions about your thoughts and feelings. They will give you a diagnosis based on your symptoms and answers.
Understanding the different ways in which people experience depression is the first step in recognising any symptoms you may be experiencing. Depression is not just like normal sadness that everyone experiences from time to time.
Click here to find out whether you have signs of depression.
How Is Depression Treated?
Depression may be caused by one or a combination of these events and everybody is different and will respond differently, depending on their personality, current life situation and many other factors.
In order to treat your depression your doctor may prescribe medication, psychotherapy, or both. It can take time to find a combination that works for you. Treatment solutions will be tailored to your specific case since causes and symptoms of depression can vary.
If you’re looking for an alternative and drug free solution Brain Wellness Spa specialises in depression and mental health issues, with a 98%* success rate in treating mental illness of all types. We use a proven, drug free and efficient treatment that is personalised based on your unique needs. Note that our treatment should never be viewed as a replacement for medications or other recognised treatments and/or therapies without qualified medical advice from your doctor.
One thing is certain though and that is if you are experiencing some of the many symptoms of depression, you should seek professional help immediately.
To talk to someone about your depression, call the Brain Wellness Spa or find out more on our treatments for depression.