Depression Causes & Effects

Learn About Depression

Learn About Depression & Treatment at Life Healing Center

Depressive disorders include a group of mental illnesses that are characterized by ongoing and pervasive feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and sadness. While everyone will experience periods of sadness at various times throughout their lives, people who suffer from depression experience this emotional turmoil at such a profound level that they struggle to be able to perform appropriately on a daily basis. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the common features among all depressive disorders are, in addition to chronic feelings of sadness, the presence of empty or irritable moods, of which are accompanied by somatic changes and alterations in cognition that significantly and negatively affect one’s capacity to function. People suffering from depression often struggle to adhere to daily responsibilities, to interact socially, and to perform at the expected level occupationally. For some individuals, even the most mundane of tasks can seem monumentally challenging when they are battling symptoms of depression. Fortunately, however, there are depression treatment options available that can help individuals overcome their depression symptoms and resume living happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives.

Statistics

Depression Statistics

Not only is depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed of all mental illnesses, but major depression is said to be the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, women are said to be at a much higher risk for experiencing symptoms of depression at some point in their lifetimes than men are. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, females are 70% more likely to suffer from depression than males are.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Depression

Researchers and professionals in the field of mental health have surmised that there are a combination of factors that work together that ultimately enhance an individual’s susceptibility to experiencing the onset of symptoms of depression. These factors are discussed briefly in the following:

Genetic: As is true for other mental health conditions, the presence of depression has a strong hereditary link. When an individual has a first-degree biological relative, such as a parent or relative, who suffers from a depressive disorder, he or she is at significantly higher risk of experiencing the onset of symptoms than are individuals who do not share a similar genetic background. That being said, it must also be noted that there are a great deal of people who experience the onset of depression symptoms despite not having a family history of this illness.

Environmental: The environments in which individuals are absorbed can have a tremendous impact on their susceptibility to developing symptoms of depression. One such environmental factor can involve an individual’s having experienced a trauma or series of traumas. When a traumatic experience occurs, and an individual does not possess the coping skills needed to successfully manage the symptoms that result from that trauma, a number of detrimental effects can occur, of which can include the onset of symptoms of depression when a genetic predisposition for this illness exists. Additional environmental factors that may play a role in an individual’s vulnerability to developing depression can include being exposed to violence, crime, or extreme levels of stress. Furthermore, individuals who have lost a loved one or are forced to go through sudden, stressful, major life changes are also at a heightened risk for experiencing symptoms synonymous with depression.

Risk Factors:

  • Being female
  • Experiencing a trauma or series of traumas
  • Family history of depression or other mental health conditions
  • Preexisting mental health condition, such as an anxiety disorder
  • Personal or family history of substance abuse and/or addiction
  • Exposure to chronic stress
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Experiencing the death of a loved one

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

The signs and symptoms that are displayed by an individual who is suffering from depression will vary from person to person depending on a number of factors. These factors can include the length of time that the individual has been suffering from the condition, the severity of the symptoms themselves, his or her inherent personality traits, the support system an individual has available to him or her, and the ability one has to implement appropriate, healthy coping mechanisms. Examples of symptoms that are frequently displayed by sufferers of depression may include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Absenteeism from work
  • Poor performance at work
  • Isolating oneself from friends and family members
  • Engaging in unprovoked, unwarranted angry outbursts
  • Participating in self-harming behaviors
  • No longer partaking in activities that one once enjoyed
  • Experiencing difficulty adhering to daily responsibilities
  • No longer capable of, or choosing not to, attend to basic self-care needs

Physical symptoms:

  • Digestive concerns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Headaches
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Psychomotor agitation

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory impairment
  • Paranoia
  • Struggling with decision-making capabilities
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Slowed thinking processes

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Consistently declining self-esteem
  • Lacking a positive self-image
  • Inexplicable and irrational feelings of guilt
  • Increased feelings of anxiety
  • Excessive feelings of irritability

Effects

Effects of Depression

Although depression is a very treatable condition, there are still many individuals who unfortunately fail to or are denied the ability to receive treatment to overcome their devastating symptoms. When this occurs, individuals are susceptible to experiencing any number of detrimental effects, of which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Decline in occupational performance, potentially leading to job loss and ongoing unemployment
  • Financial discord
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Disturbances within interpersonal relationships
  • Familial strife / divorce
  • Overall decline in one’s physical health
  • Overall decline in one’s mental health
  • Onset of suicidal ideation
  • Onset of self-harming behaviors
  • Making attempts at suicide
  • Developing an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol

Co-Occurring Disorders

Depression & Co-Occurring Disorders

Unfortunately, there are instances where individuals who are suffering from symptoms of depression also suffer from symptoms of other mental health conditions simultaneously. Post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related conditions, more specifically, have been known to afflict individuals who are also suffering from depression. In some cases, individuals may have a history of depression and, after experiencing a trauma, find that their symptoms worsen. In other cases, individuals who do not have a history of depression may experience a trauma and find that they subsequently experience the onset of symptoms of depression as they struggle to deal with the emotional distress and turmoil that resulted from that trauma. In addition to PTSD and various other trauma-related concerns, disorders that have been cited as co-occurring alongside a diagnosis of depression include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobia
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Substance use disorders

Life Healing Center Home

Suicidal thoughts were always on the top of my mind. Only Life Healing Center was able to break through my depression and help me cope with my depression. I definitely could not recommend this place any more for those with depression!

– John M.