Life can take a lot out of us. Sometimes, it takes so much out of us, we begin to not feel anymore. This is the monster of depression.
As of 2017, Nearly 18 million American adults were prescribed with it. Given the full year that 2020 has been, I would not be surprised if those numbers have nearly doubled.
Regardless of speculation, depression is a real issue that people need to be more open about. While the stigma has decreased as of late, we still have a lot of ground to cover on understanding this. Below, we will get into the real question behind what depression can do to you.
What Causes Depression?
Clinical depression, or depressive disorder, causes an incredibly negative feeling that can affect your mood, physical state, and mental abilities. We will get further into the symptoms of depression later. For now, we will focus on an area that many people struggle with: the causes.
Harvard Health tells us that this issue may be related to a chemical imbalance. However, that answer doesn’t tell us anything specific. In fact, the number of chemicals that may be involved in this makes for a very complicated subject.
As a result of this, treatments based on chemical imbalances are not always practical. Two people may exhibit similar symptoms but have entirely different needs. The medications they need may vary massively.
How Does The Brain Affect Depression?
Research tells us that a more significant effect comes from nerve endings in the brain. With the desire to keep things simple, we will give you a simplistic version.
Our brain is made up of a series of neurons. These neurons communicate with each other in a complex system of chemical and electricity. The space between these neurons is known as a synapse.
Neurotransmitters, which are the actual communications sent, are sent through neurons along synapses. Depending on the signals sent through these areas, neurons will continue to address these chemicals or stop sending these chemicals. When the system fails to send the correct amount of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, the brain falls into depression.
Genetics & Depression
It is said that if your mother or father has depression, you have a higher likelihood of falling into the same category. Harvard Health tells us that there is a three percent higher likelihood at most, which isn’t too much, but it is significant.
Simply put, genes will affect how our brain functions. Chemically imbalanced brain functions are related to genes. Therefore, it can be caused by genes.
Does Stress Make It Worse?
If you have ever lost a loved one or a friend, you know that terrible feeling you have from losing them in your life. Other stresses can also cause this feeling. These include losing a job, getting a divorce, financial woes, and anything you can think of.
The point is, depression is what happens when that negative feeling follows you longer than it should. It is normal to feel like you cannot imagine your life without what is lost. Some treatments and processes can help you move on.
The Different Kinds Of Depression
The incredibly emotional experience of bringing a child into the world is draining. It is only natural to feel depressed as a result of the aftermath. You can have a variety of thoughts after having a baby.
- “What now?”
- “how am I going to take care of this baby?”
- “Is this all that is left for me?”
- “My life is over.”
These are completely natural. Eventually, one expects to “get over” these feelings. A better way to think about it is by working through those emotions. Exploring them when comfortable, and convincing you, your spouse, or your girlfriend, that these thoughts are understood, but not correct.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D)
As explained by the name, SAD comes and goes with the seasons. You may be happier in the summer than the fall because you associate summer with outdoor activity. Fall may be too cold for you, so you end up staying inside.
You may associate seasons with past events. For example, remember that your ex-wife really liked coffee in the fall.
This depression comes with some sort of psychosis. For example, you may have delusions that you feel you cannot control or hear voices in your head. These can feed into the depression, and usually are treated with a combination of therapy and medication.
Both of these have similar symptoms, but they do come from different sources. We will go through the list below.
- An empty feeling
- No appetite or excessive appetite
- Regular fatigue
- Suicidal thoughts
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in enjoyable activities
- Sleeping too much or too little
Treatment For Depression
Everyone has their own ways of feeling better. There are even a few self-treatment options to consider, such as starting a new hobby or owning a pet.
Commonly, depression is treated by medication or doctors. There is a long list of anti-depressants that doctors can go through. Sometimes, depression feeds into anxiety. Anxiety can also feed into depression. Medication can cover a wide variety of bases.
Sometimes, depression can be conquered with solo therapy. Where the therapist explores the reason behind your problems. It can be a consistent process that takes many years to go through, but a good support network will help.
Breaking The Stigma
Depression, similar to other diseases, has a great deal of social stigma around. The shame is astounding, given that there are so many people affected by 2020.
The causes are all over the place. You can be affected by genes and brain chemicals or past experiences. You can even be affected by changing seasons.
Regardless of what causes it, it is essential to recognize the signs of you experiencing extreme sadness. By being aware of these signs, you will be able to talk yourself through them. Therapy and medication will give you ways to address the problem and the chemical issues behind them.