What are the Causes of Depression and How is it Treated?

Depression is something not commonly spoken about but it remains an issue for many people today. Depression can have some serious effects on our life. There are some very common causes of depression and oftentimes common treatments for depression. Although everybody’s different and treatment looks a little unique for everybody, knowing and recognizing if you fit into these descriptions can help you get to the root of the problem. But, before we dive deep into the world of depression, let’s first start by asking ourselves this: “What is Depression?”

Depression is classified as a mood disorder, and the symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. Depression usually involves self-loathing or a loss of self-esteem, and some signs of it may include losing interest in things you used to enjoy, feeling tearful, changes in appetite, as well as physical symptoms, such as, tiredness, trouble sleeping, and loss of sex drive. People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions. 

The causes may be something as quick as a single event – like a bereavement or divorce, but sometimes there does not seem to be a specific catalyst. This being said, recognizing the cause of the depression is one of the hardest yet most important parts. Here are some of the common causes of depression. 

  • Brain chemistry. There may be a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that manage mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior in people who have depression.
  • Hormone levels. Changes in female hormones estrogen and progesterone during different periods of time like during the menstrual cycle, postpartum period, perimenopause, or menopause may all raise a person’s risk for depression.
  • Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may  put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart attack, and cancer
  • Substance use. A history of substance or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.
  • Pain. People who feel emotional or chronic physical pain for long periods of time are significantly more likely to develop depression.

Additionally, there are so many different causes that make everyone’s story unique. This is why working with a therapist is incredibly vital in your recovery process. Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, are the most commonly used when it comes to treatment (other than medicine). However, there are also so many other options, like Yoga and Meditation therapy. 

At Body Positive Works, we offer weekly and monthly classes and private meditation and yoga classes that can help you. 

Remember that you are not alone; roughly one in ten Americans suffer depression at some point in their lives. It can affect anyone – men, women, children, the elderly, and everyone in between. Teenage depression and postpartum depression can be particularly challenging.

Contrary to what some people may tell you, depression is not a sign of weakness or something that you can  just “snap out of.” It is a serious illness, and at Body Positive Works, we are here to listen.

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