Depression is a term to describe sadness, as well as low mood. Almost all of you may have depressive feelings. It’s not abnormal. Therefore we are not going to talk about it here. We are going to discuss about depression as a disorder. There are common causes of depression you should know. Because most of them are preventable.
Depression is more common among women. Most of them experience more than one episode.
In depression, there is alterations of chemicals in brain. But these can be corrected by medication.
Sadness or unhappiness is a normal reaction to unfavorable circumstances. But if it affects your normal life it’s abnormal. According to ICD-10 and DSM IV there are criteria to diagnose depression as a mental disorder. If you have these symptoms at least for 2 weeks the diagnosis is depression. Let’s have a look at those symptoms.
Symptoms of depression
Depression has 3 common classical symptoms. Most of people with depression may have these symptoms.
- depressed mood or low mood
- loss of interest and enjoyment
- reduced energy leading to diminished activity and tiredness
Other common symptoms are:
- poor concentration and attention
- low self esteem and self confidence
- ideas of guilt and unworthiness
- bleak and pessimistic views of the future
- ideas or acts of self harm or suicide
- sleep disturbances
- loss of appetite
If you are having above symptoms at least for 2 weeks you may have to meet your doctor. Because it’s better to start treatments early.
Some may have recurrent symptoms of depression time to time. It’s recurrent depression disorder. There may be several episodes. But patient is well in between episodes.
Some people may have elevated mood and happy feelings sometimes other than depression symptoms. It’s called as bipolar affective disorder.
Causes of depression
There are many causes of depression. Here are some common causes of depression:
- Family history – a family member with depressive illness, bipolar disorder or suicide is a common cause of depression. Most of people with depression have a family history. So it is common. Because it is associated with your genetics.
- Physical illness – Most of physical illnesses cause depression. Malignancies, heart attacks, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, renal failure, liver failure, diabetes and autoimmune conditions are associated with depression. Therefore patients with these diseases are more likely to develop depression. But it can be cured as the disease is treated. Apart from that some endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, Addison’s disease and hyperparathyroidism are also associated with depression.
- Drugs – Several drugs can cause depression. Analgesics, antibiotics, anti hypertensives, chemotherapy drugs, steroids and other immunosuppressants are examples. Therefore use these drugs carefully. If you already having depression these drugs can precipitate it.
- Substance use – Long term use of alcohol, heroin and cocaine increase the risk of depression. studies say that withdrawal of these substance will significantly reduce the risk.
Apart from that there are many other causes of depression.
Some may have personality traits. Such as tendency to worry, reduced self esteem and sensitivity to others opinion. They are more vulnerable to depression. But personalty is difficult to assess.
Poor coping skills
People may develop depression when faced with stressors. Because they can’t cope with those stressors. Here are some examples for common stressors:
- death of a loved one
- divorce or separation
- financial problems
- problems at work
- marital problems
Relationship status is also another factor. People who can’t develop good relationship with others also having a high risk.
Most of the common causes of depression we mentioned above are preventable. Therefore by knowing those causes you can easily prevent depression. However, there are some causes which are not preventable. Family history is one thing that we can’t change.
People with depression are having a high risk of suicide. Because of the depressed mood and other depressive features they try to harm themselves. Here are some indicators of high suicide risk.
- sense of hopeless
- persistent suicidal thoughts
- fantasizing about suicide
- clear plans about suicide
- past suicidal attempts
- social isolation
- lack of close relationships
- poor social support
- alcohol and other substance use
- easy access to means such as insecticide or firearms
Treatment of depression will be easy by knowing those causes of depression.