What causes depression?
I have battled with depression all my life. In my case I have a chemical imbalance that requires medication. In my early 20's I had what is called "a nervous breakdown," which put me in the hospital. I underwent extensive counseling. They discovered that I had suffered from depression since birth. Doctors explained to me that my low levels of certain neurotransmitters were causing my depression. Neurotransmitters are little messenger chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to the next in the brain. There are several different kinds that are involved. One is serotonin which helps regulate emotion, sleep, and appetite. I was crying all the time and not been able to sleep. Another one is noradrenalin which is linked to arousal and alertness. The third neurotransmitter is dopamine: associated with pleasure and reward. In my case I had lots of reasons to feel pleasure. I had just given birth to a beautiful and wonderful little girl. But because of this neurotransmitter not working properly, I felt no pleasure. In my case, medication was the answer.
Because of my illness, I have researched depression and talked with hundreds of people who suffer from it. I have seen dozens of professionals, asking them hundreds of questions. For over twenty years, I have led support groups for people suffering from various forms of depression. I have learned that some depression is caused by life events such as a death in the family, divorce, abuse, losing a job, and other similar factors. It is thought that the extreme stress of the event causes your body to not function properly. This type of depression can be treated by working through the trauma of the event. An example is with a death in the family. Depression can be a normal stage that a person goes through in coping with the event.
Other causes of depression can be the result of various diseases. People suffering from an under active thyroid, anemia, heart attack, stroke, cancer, or diabetes may be at a higher risk for depression. This can be caused from the stress of the illness or the illness itself. Some prescription medication can increase the risk of getting depressed. Eating habits, sleep patterns, and lack of exercise may contribute to depression tendencies as well. There are medical reasons for not being able to sleep that can lead to depression. If you are suffering from depression, you need to see a doctor.
Some depression is learned. You may have been raised in a family where everyone was depressed and you grew up thinking it was normal. It would be similar to being raised in a family that was angry. You would probably grow up angry. It is also possible that your family was busy and you only got attention when you cried or were in distress. So you learned a life style of using depression as an attention getting device. Another factor of depression can be having an unrealistically high expectation of yourself or if you are unable to accept fault or failure. These types of people are at high risk of getting depressed.
Another way to become depressed is to think your way into it. All that is required is knowing how to worry. Let me explain. I take a small problem and think about it for awhile. I imagine what could go wrong and how terrible it would be. Pretty soon I have it worked up into a huge problem. This problem is one that I have created and exists primarily in my imagination. However, I quickly forget that I intensified it with my negative thinking and it is no longer "reality." How you view life and what you allow your mind to think about have a huge impact on your depression. I discovered this about myself. When I started to fall into a depression I noticed my thoughts became very negative. As I continued to think negatively, the deeper I fell into depression. I can remember feeling as though I was in a deep hole and there was no way out. Once you get into that mind set, it is very difficult to get out. However, it can be done, but it takes a lot of will power and work to change those thought patterns back to positive affirmations. To prevent this fall into the deep hole of despair, I work on keeping my thoughts positive on a daily basis. I don't allow myself to dwell on anything negative.
Sometimes a person cannot pull themselves out of the depression. In this case you may need some assistance. You can decide to stay depressed or you can do something about it. Some ways of battling depression include joining a support group, getting counseling with a professional, using medication temporarily or my favorite cure - turning it over to Jesus. I have discovered through my faith in Jesus Christ that positive, uplifting thoughts can keep me out of depression. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Part of my faith is to turn things over to Jesus and not dwell on them. It is amazing what changes can take place in your life when you do this.
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