Depression, as the term suggests is frequently said to result from chemical imbalance but that does not really capture how complex the condition is. Studies have shown that depression does not result from either excessive or mearge chemicals in the brain. Instead, there are many potential causes of depression including faulty mood regulation of the brain, genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, drugs and medical conditions, etc. Several of these factors are believed to interact with each other in order to carry on depression.
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and hurtful than anything that bleeds”, as rightly said by Laurell K. Hamilton. Depression is characterised by long lasting and intense feelings of despair and sorrow wherein an individual loses interest in daily activities. These feelings go beyond any description or proportion of external causes. In such a state of mind, one starts to believe that he is not needed anywhere, doesn’t deserve or has no reason to live as it is an impasse. Depression influences how one feels, thinks and acts, and can prompt a number of emotional and physical issues. It is linked to the person’s state of mind and well-being.
Depressive symptoms fall into four simple clusters, each representing a different underlying cause — situational, biological, psychological and existential depression.
Let’s consider a situation wherein you are having brief thoughts of suicide. It may be due to certain different situations for example, it can happen because you are feeling lonely and isolated due to the Covid-19 quarantine and the lockdown. It can also be due to some kind of personal loss, for instance a breakup that causes you to cry and face struggle while getting out of bed. Situation-induced depression is more likely to cause intense sadness amongst the person. These stressful circumstances may cause physical lethargy and emotional isolation, which appear to be self-reinforcing, in addition to causing depression, discouragement or a sense of meaninglessness. Not only does this sort of depressed client need to modify their attitude but also change the situation itself by doing something about it.
In biological depression, depressive symptoms start with an imbalance in either of the neurotransmitters (like serotonin and norepinephrine) or hormones that influence our mood and physiology (like oestrogen, progesterone, and thyroxine). In some cases, changes in neurotransmitters and hormones can directly contribute to feelings of desperation and anhedonia. In other situations, as with hypothyroidism, biochemical changes actually produce a physiological condition that makes it difficult for people to achieve their goals. Here, a disruption in physiology creates a syndrome of low arousal, marked by persistent fatigue, low metabolism, poor concentration, and cognitive slowing.
is considered as the third form of depression as it is correlated with psychological causes such as losing perspective, unrealistic aspirations, and negative self-talk. For most of us, having our hopes and dreams constantly shattered by reality can be the hardest thing. For others, depriving themselves of potential hopes and aspirations is the key to dealing with this because they will never get disappointed again, and this adaptation will work so well that people tend to use it indiscriminately to defend themselves. However, apathy and hopelessness result when individuals overuse this defensive mechanism. Both cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy are equally referred for psychological depression and each treatment solves the issue in various ways.
While the trigger for situational depression is typically a traumatic event (e.g. work loss) often, ironically, a positive event is the trigger for existential depression; typically, one that someone has been looking forward to for a long time.
How can an occurrence that is good, trigger a depressive episode? During adolescence, a large number of people tend to resolve to devote themselves to a specific purpose that they believe will add meaning to their life and provide them with self actualisation. Lofty career milestones such as becoming a doctor, unique personal aspirations such as raising a child or perhaps, a trip to a dream destination, may be the goals that they aspire to achieve. Regardless of the target, people sometimes establish an unreasonable assumption that that will yield an eternal state of happiness when they plan their lives around its accomplishment. In certain ways, meeting these goals gives them the happiness they want, however a large number of times it doesn’t. To spend your entire life pursuing a single goal and then realising that it didn’t bring the joy and meaning that you expected out of it is enough to send most people into an existential crisis.
The four underlying causes of depression are abuse, certain drugs, genetics or death/loss.
The susceptibility to psychiatric depression in later stages of life may be enhanced by past physical, sexual or emotional abuse which can in-turn increase the vulnerability to being depressed.
- Pharmaceutical drugs
The risk of depression may pertain by certain medications such as isotretinoin, the anti-viral medication interferon-alpha and corticosteroids.
The risk may be elevated due to a family history of depression. Depression is considered to be a complex trait, meaning potentially several distinct genes each exerting small effects rather than a single gene that contributes to the risk.
- Death or a loss
Sadness or sorrow from a loved one’s death or loss, though natural, might expand the risk of depression.
If depression is not treated early on, it can consume us. You might feel irritated, not in the mood to do anything, not interested in studying or working, lack of pleasure, loss or gain of appetite, sleeping problems, feeling restless, postpartum, self-harm, unworthy or feel as if nothing makes sense and you might experience episodes in public. All these are major symptoms of depression that one may feel more or less. Battling with depression can be tough as you have to control your thoughts and stay positive. It can be hard to lose a person and at times people can’t accept that fact.
Here are some things which you can include in your lifestyle-
- Go to a therapist, seek help from a professional by talking it out and figuring out the root cause.
- Try to learn about the possible causes of depression and search for a situational cause and try to understand the treatment options with the help of a professional.
- Have a healthy lifestyle and cut out toxic people from your life.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with yourself through self leadership and coaching.
- Talk to your family and friends.
- Exercise regularly, improve your diet and think positively as that is the key to cure depression.
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