What Causes Depression?

 4th Apr 2016

As we’ve previously covered; depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the world, affecting as much as 20% of the population.

Lethargy, lack of motivation, loss of appetite and low self-confidence are just some of the many symptoms which can be experienced during a bout of depression, and many people may even be suffering without knowing it.

But what causes depression?

Knowing the different factors which can lead to the onset of different illnesses and disorders is important in being able protect yourself and identify potential warning signs.

Depression and its severity can be greatly influenced by a range of different environmental factors and people with a family history of depression, bipolar disorder and other related conditions will be at higher risk.

Despite many people having a good idea about what causes depression in their life, there may well be a few areas you had not considered before.

Major or Traumatic Events

Significant life events can instigate anxiety and depression in many people, regardless of whether they are positive or negative occurrences.

For instance, moving house, starting a new job or giving birth are examples of positive life events which can still cause depression, with postnatal depression being an exemplary phenomenon.

During these times, there are changes occurring to fundamental aspects of your life such as your geographical location and your day-to-day responsibilities, and depression is a way of your body telling you it is finding it challenging to adapt to these changes.

The death of a loved one and physical/sexual abuse during any stage of a person’s life are perhaps more obvious examples of traumatic events which can leave a person feeling extremely depressed and, in severe cases, even suicidal.

Less Obvious Factors

In the busy world we live in, it can become easy to find yourself overwhelmed with things to do both at work and at home, and this becomes increasingly apparent for those with children, or other dependents, maintaining a job and other substantial commitments.

Ensuring you have downtime to enjoy the more leisurely aspects of your life is crucial in maintaining a happy equilibrium and this can, if anything, facilitate higher productivity when you are working.

Moving away work, your personality itself can be an important factor to consider when assessing your potential risk of depression.

People with low self-esteem, social anxiety or pessimistic attitudes to life in general are more likely to be at risk of the onset of depression, as their personality traits can often repress them from the talking to new people, taking risks and generally living life to the full.

Regular consumption of alcoholic drinks has become a habitual past time for many people and, whilst drinking in moderation is perfectly fine, consuming alcohol in excess quantities or simply drinking as a means of coping with life’s challenges can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health and can contribute to feelings of anxiety as alcohol is, itself, a depressant.

Persistent Negative Lifestyle Aspects

If you’ve become accustomed to a failing relationship, loneliness, money worries and debt or just about any other underlying factor of your life which is detrimental to your wellbeing, this may well be a cause for depression in your life.

It’s undeniable we all need money to function in society and, whilst it doesn’t necessarily correlate directly to happiness, having insufficient money certainly represses our ability to do the things we enjoy and see the people we love.

Similarly, remaining in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship can be harmful to our happiness in much the same way as financial worries can be.

If a person you are spending the majority of your time is neglectful to you, shows a lack of respect for you or your interests or even resorts to mental or physical abuse at any time, these can be clear signs for change.

There are a huge number of reasons why you or someone you know might be depressed.

In order to help facilitate positive and consistent mental wellbeing, you need to analyse your life in a holistic manner in order to identify possible stressors, determine which areas require change and achieve a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Encompass provides a range of services designed to greatly improve the quality of life for people living with an enduring mental health condition or learning disability including respite care, day care support, supported living and many more.

Find out how our compassionate team can help you or a loved one by clicking here.

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