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ICSE > ICSE Articles > Health > What Are The Causes of Depression?

What Are The Causes of Depression?

What does depression feel like? For most people it's being unable to deal with something bad that happens. It could be something as serious as the death of a loved one or something less serious - whatever it might be, it is the fact that we are unable to cope that is depression.

Even though depression is now known to have serious effects if it persists for a long length of time, the actual causes of depression are not well defined. It is possible that depression occurs due to a number of reasons which combine to give that feeling of helplessness and inability to cope. These reasons, can involve both internal and external factors.

There are other theories such as the cause of depression arises from genetics. It is considered that it is the family and their behavior that has a predisposition towards depression. There are numerous studies and research that has shown family members who are affected by depression have a genetic makeup that is very different from family members who are unaffected by depression.

It has also been noted that changes in the brain structure or even brain functions may be one of the causes of depression. So, while there is no clear evidence that brain functionality or genetics cause people to be predisposed towards depression, there is ample research data to suggest that this could be the case.

There are many groups of people who could be vulnerable to depression. I have identified:

* people between the ages of 25 and 50, and those over the age of 65;

* women are about as twice as likely as men in the United States;

* people who are unhappily married, separated or divorced.

People within the identified age groups are subject to so many influences and stresses throughout everyday life that is no wonder that many in those age groups could be vulnerable. It is interesting to note that about 20-25% of women and 12% of men will experience a serious bout of depression at least one time in their lifetimes.

Among children, depression seems to happen in equal numbers of boys and girls. Then, as the sexes reach adolescence, girls tend to become more depressed than boys do. This gender imbalance with major depression continues into older age.

Women are both historically more likely to seek treatment for depression and the negative feelings that may be occurring, such as feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, though even more recent statistics show an increasing number of men seeking self improvement therapy sessions. The increase in the number of men may be due to an acceptance by men that they experience bouts of depression and that it is OK to do something about it. It is a fact that the rates of major depression are considerably lower for those who are happily married.

Although people may be identified within the vulnerable groups that fact alone does not ensure that someone will develop a depressive episode. It has to be recognised that everyone has the susceptibility of developing depression from time to time.

Low self esteem and pessimism are thought to be related to the causes of depression. With these mood traits, a person suffering from low self esteem may regard themselves with feelings of pessimism, worthlessness, a desire to end their life and perhaps even attempts at suicide. In this case the person who suffers from low self esteem and depression will only see the negative aspects of life. These low self esteem and pessimistic feelings, together with other factors, create a potential for depression and may indeed invoke a response towards depression.

Being overwhelmed by stress can easily lead a person into a state of depression. The many pressures that we face in our lives and the great expectations that are placed on us contribute to this feeling of stress. Therefore as more stress enters our lives depression begins to set in. Low self esteem, pessimism and stress are considered to be psychological causes of depression. In these circumstances, we begin to understand that depression is not caused by one factor but by a number of diverse factors all intricately woven to make a person vulnerable to depression.

Other causes of depression can include any physical changes that occur to our bodies. Severe medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes can make the individual believe that there is nothing worthwhile living for. The idea that your body cannot no longer do the things your mind expects it to do can create and overwhelming desire to believe that life will not be the same and it becomes easy to slip into a negative spiral of emotions but than treat such situations as positive influences on the changing circumstances of life. By feeling depressed the rate of recovery is delayed.

While it is not completely clear what the exact and precise causes of depression are, there is agreement that certain physical, emotional, and genetic traits can lead towards depression. Whatever the actual causes are, the end result is that the individual who is suffering from depression has a very poor quality of life. Therefore, until we can define what are the real causes of depression, all that we can do is to help them become better.

Rather than look at the causes of depression as though depression were a fully understood condition, let’s look at it in manageable packets. Exploring and understanding potential risk factors related to depression can go a long way toward making decisions about treatment and acceptance of a bout of major depression. The key is to understand how individual circumstances weave together to create very personal circumstances that affect an individual. Those very same physical and emotional circumstances will cause one person to be vulnerable to depression whilst another may treat those circumstances as a positive influence and powerful driving force.

About The Author

Jem Meades at http://ultimatedailyhealth.com discusses a wide range of common health issues every week. Understanding your health needs will increase your confidence and ability to tackle any health issues you or your family experience. Visit http://ultimatedailyhealth.com today. Receive regular articles about common health issues every week, be informed and subscribe right now at http://ultimatedailyhealth.com.

Date Posted: May 17, 2007

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