March 23, 2016

What are the main causes of depression?

Generally speaking there is always a cause for your depression, maybe even more than one cause. Nowadays, doctors are quick to prescribe medication for any problems we have so we have come to expect a “quick fix”. But there are no quick fixes or miracle cures, the best and most lasting cure lies within you. If you suffer from depression you should be careful not to go looking for a quick fix that focuses only on your symptoms. You need to look at the causes of your depression and do something about that even if you do take medication.

desperately depressed manNow, a word of caution: there are some disorders that can cause depression or that have depression as a common symptom. Some of these disorders do not seem to have a root cause. On this page I am assuming you do not suffer from a disorder such as Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar Depression. If you think you may do then please click the above link to find out more about these disorders.

So what are the main causes of depression?

Below is a brief list of the most important causes:

  • Stress – it makes you tired and takes away your enjoyment in life. We are here talking about negative stress which can cause you to worry and increase your anxiety and fear. If your stress is long term, then you may be unaware of how much damage it may be doing to your well-being and outlook on life.
  • Anxiety – this emotion is extremely negative if you allow it to get out of control. A certain level of anxiety is natural in challenging situations, but it can cause problems if it is fed by worry and stress. Some anxiety may even be totally unjustified and exaggerated by your imagination. This is why the perspective of another person can often help you to understand what is really happening. A therapist can really help you to work through your fears and anxiety and guide you to finding ways to positively deal with them.
  • Worry – is an emotion you feel when you are uncertain or fear what may happen. Of course, it may not happen as you imagine it will.
  • Over-thinking – sometimes indecision can cause you to think about what to do over and over and this is quite stressful. When your mind goes round in circles looking for an answer but not finding it then it may turn negative and counterproductive.
  • A painful or dramatic event in your life, such as the death of a loved one or an accident. Other events that can trigger depression include getting divorced, failing exams or losing your job.

Which Causes Can you Control?

Of the above causes of depression one important question to ask yourself is: “Which of these causes can I control?”

If you look above you’ll see that the ones you can control are the ones connected with your emotions: Stress, anxiety and worry.

These are YOUR emotions. Don’t forget that you create them. Stress only exists if you feel it. It is not real. Likewise, anxiety and worry are created by your mind and do not exist in the real world. For proof of this just think of someone who loves doing something that you fear or really dislike doing. They are happy and relaxed doing something that makes you feel stress, anxiety or worry. The fact that these are emotional responses to events means that you can learn to manage how you react and lessen the impact that these feelings have on you. The events that happen to everyone will no longer have the power to destroy your happiness and joy.

So, you can learn to control your emotions. It may not be easy, but you can do it.

You can also control your over-thinking about problems or decisions. Who do you admire most – someone who thinks for a long long time and refuses to make a decision until he has thought about it from every angle or someone decisive who has the courage to make decisive changes and implement them with confidence? Does over-thinking help? I am not saying you shouldn’t think about decisions or problems but you should make sure you are not OVER thinking to the point where you become confused and totally unsure of what choice to make.

One major problem with thinking is the tendency to focus on problems rather than solutions. We often feel, or are told, that we need to analyse and understand the problem we face which up to a point is good advice. The thing is that many people tend to keep thinking about the problem and running it over and over and avoid spending time on thinking about solutions. This one reason why getting help from a professional counsellor may help. Such a person can get you to change your thinking and focus on possible solutions.

I believe that choices are so important in the battle against your depression. Why? Because depression is the idea that you have no choices, in other words no hope. Remember also that this is not real, but only the way you see it. Nothing is ever hopeless but you may think it so.

Other causes of depression

Many doctors believe that chemical imbalances in the brain are responsible for depression. This is unproved. The imbalances in the brain can be caused naturally or could be linked to your family history and genes. In most people there are other causes and, in fact, no doctor truly understands exactly what causes depression.

Your character has a big effect and this may explain why certain people are happy and others get depressed often. If you are negative or worry a lot then depression is more likely. Some people have such a positive personality that they can tolerate higher levels of stress or appear unaffected by problems and events in their lives no matter how bad.

Of course being ill is a major cause of symptoms of depression because it is so demoralizing. Long-term health concerns are much more likely to affect your overall mood and how depressed you feel.

Drug use and alcohol are common causes of depression. It is a well known fact that alcohol is a depressant and even it brings temporary relief after the effects have worn off you’ll come crashing down feeling worse than before. Similarly people can become addicted to drugs that they have used to temporarily escape the negative pain of depression. Both drugs and drinking too much alcohol can be both a cause or consequence of depression.

Because of the psychological nature of many of the causes of depression medication cannot solve the problem in most cases but can be a part of the solution. If you are suffering from extreme feelings of negativity and unhappiness for more than several weeks you should first consider seeing a doctor. He or she will be able to advise you what to do next and whether or not you need medication and/ or counselling or therapy.

Remember that depression is a growing problem and you are not alone, there is help out there so don’t be scared to ask for it.

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