(Everything you wanted to know about causes and interventions for Depression and were afraid to ask!)
I’m depressed! My boyfriend is out of town, my favorite TV series ended and there’s no chocolate in the house!
No. That’s not the depression we are talking about. You are in a frustrated mood as your routine needs are not being met.
The Wikipedia Definition is: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life
General Causes: may include Move somewhere away from home, grief/Death of someone, chronic medical condition or pain, poor self-concept (which can be related to many underlying issues such as early childhood oppression, abuse and/or neglect), chemical imbalance due to drug use/abuse, side effects of some prescription drugs (ie Accutane, Corticosteroids, opioids, oral contraceptives, high blood pressure drugs, statins for high cholesterol etc.). Some chronic medical conditions which often lead to some form of depression include: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS) and hypothyroidism. may also lead to depressed feelings. Clinical depression, generally differs from the depression associated with grief in that clinical depression involves a range of other symptoms such as feelings of low self-worth, negative thoughts about the future, and suicide, whereas grief involves feelings of emptiness, loss and longing for a loved one, with an intact capacity to feel pleasure. Each person is unique in how he or she copes with these feelings
Stress or trauma may over time cause cortisol hormone increase resulting in the shrinking of the hippocampus in the brain reducing serotonin receptors for feelings of well-being. Weight gain may also result adding another factor affecting self-concept, social interaction and isolation.
According to WebMD, a genetic link of one or more genes may interact with each other environmental factors below but it is not well established though some families reflect a generational pattern.
- Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
- Certain medications. Some drugs, such as isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk of depression.
- Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
- Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.
- Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is a complex trait, meaning that there are probably many different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk. The genetics of depression, like most psychiatric disorders, are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases such as Huntington’s chorea or cystic fibrosis.
- Major life events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events.
- Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group or bullying and oppressive conditions can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.
- Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.
- Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.
Still other factors cited by health.facty.com include:
- Lack of sunlight. Sunlight stimulates an array of hormonal activity and vibrancy for living. It also provides the only natural source of D-3. D-3 is a vitamin needed for the natural production of 100’s of hormones required for healthy mental and physical health. Over-the-shelf D-3 and sun therapy lamps can be purchased, but 5-10 minutes of sunlight per day are recommended for overall health.
- Lack of sleep
- Internet and social media dependence often stifle one’s family relations, social life, career, spiritual life etc resulting in unhealthy life balances.
- Too much TV. Overly investing time or emotion into virtual reality that ends with a series or season.
- Noise pollution that interferes with sleep and/or rest.
- Choices and responsibilities that overwhelm can cause depression or anxiety.
- Insufficient Omega 3 (fatty acid found in cold water fish and some nuts) has been linked to depression in some research studies.
- Family relationships fractured or strained.
Natural remedies listed in health.facty.com for depression include: 1. Healthy diet (Mediterranean/anti-inflammatory) which includes eggs, cold water fish, flax seed oils, sour cherries and tree nuts help in the production of serotonin for feelings of well being. 2. Meditation or prayer for a healthy mind-body connection. 3. Exercise 4. Reduce caffeine slowly 5. Consider acupuncture 6. Improve sleep hygiene by not eating or drinking caffeine nor alcohol at least 3 hours before bedtime, not watching TV or Computer at least 1 hour before bedtime, go to bed at same time nightly, use the bed ONLY for sex or sleep, eliminate all light, noise and distraction to sleep.7. Consider Yoga stretches and mindfulness techniques.8. Cut out all Depressants (i.e. alcohol or drugs). 9. Increase magnesium consumption (seeds, sesame seeds, nuts, beans, legumes, dark leafy veggies. 10. Schedule Fun for yourself 11. Light Therapy (Sun and Therapy lamps). 12. Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which examines underlying beliefs and practices which contribute to depression. 13. Multivitamins and fresh natural foods rather than processed (Organic is best when the food is leafy). Processed foods have added salts, sugars, preservatives, toxins etc. which can disturb our health balance. 14. Maintain a work-sleep-fun routine that works and is relatively stress-free. 15. Natural herbs such as St. John’s Wort and Melatonin (over-the-counter at pharmacies and health food stores) taken before bedtime helps relaxation and sleep. Herbal teas such as Valerian root, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Passionflower and Magnolia Bark, is effective with some forms of depression.
Insights to your depression can be found by 1. Journal your life. 2. Getting a blood test to see hormonal and vitamin (D-3) imbalances/deficiencies. 3. Tracking your food intake for analysis. 4. Therapist interview of childhood, family, and marital history with abuse and neglect factors, drug history, accidents, trauma, and overall patterns.
Summary: One thing is certain-depression is a complex illness with many contributing factors which can additive as well as interactive. That is the factors in play can interact to make the depression deeper. A holistic Christian Licensed Therapist can help address the roots of the depression, your customized goals in the treatment plan and the interventions most effective.