Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
With this level of complexity, you can see how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and therefore what treatments will work best, may be entirely different.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in the causes of depression.
How Stress Affects The Body
Stress can be defined as an automatic physical response to any stimulus that requires you to adjust to change. Every real or perceived threat to your body triggers a cascade of stress hormones that produces physiological changes. We all know the sensations: your heart pounds, muscles tense, breathing quickens, and beads of sweat appear. This is known as the stress response.
The stress response starts with a signal from the part of your brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus joins the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands to form a trio known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which governs a multitude of hormonal activities in the body and may play a role in depression as well.
When a physical or emotional threat looms, the hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing hormone , which has the job of rousing your body. Hormones are complex chemicals that carry messages to organs or groups of cells throughout the body and trigger certain responses. CRH follows a pathway to your pituitary gland, where it stimulates the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone , which pulses into your bloodstream. When ACTH reaches your adrenal glands, it prompts the release of cortisol.
The boost in cortisol readies your body to fight or flee. Your heart beats faster up to five times as quickly as normal and your blood pressure rises. Your breath quickens as your body takes in extra oxygen. Sharpened senses, such as sight and hearing, make you more alert.
When Does Low Mood Become Depression
We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.
But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. See our page on the symptoms of depression for more information.
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When To See A Doctor
Those who are experiencing symptoms of depression should seek medical assistance. Depression can worsen without treatment and affect a persons quality of life.
A family doctor or mental health professional will discuss treatment options to help the person manage their depression and carry on with daily life.
In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or physically harming oneself.
Any suicidal thoughts or statements about not wanting to live should be taken seriously. In times of crisis, a person should seek help from a hospital emergency department.
Help is also available from the National Suicide Prevention Helpline by calling 1-800-273-TALK , or visiting the Helplines website.
Existing Mental Health Problems
If you already struggle with a mental health condition, or have had mental health problems in the past, this also increases your chances of developing depression.
Also, depression is also a symptom of a number of other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, eating disorders and anxiety. Depression can also complicate other conditions such as anxiety disorders and psychosis, making it even more difficult to cope with depression,
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Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse.
If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
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How Is Depression Treated
Depression treatment typically involves medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be another treatment option. In milder cases of depression, treatment might begin with psychotherapy alone, and medication added if the individual continues to experience symptoms. For moderate or severe depression, many mental health professionals recommend a combination of medication and therapy at the start of treatment.
Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a persons individual needs and medical situation under a providers care. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. You can learn more about the different types of treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies on the NIMH’s depression webpage. For information on finding a mental health professional and questions to ask when considering therapy, visit NIMHs psychotherapies webpage.
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Because Of A Relationship Breakdown
Relationships are hard, and seeing them end can often be a root cause for depressive feelings. Its difficult to see someone drift away from you, especially if youve been so close. It can even lead you to think that youll never be able to find love again, or that you arent worthy of it.
Professor Constance Ahrons, PhD, states, The depressed person often feels responsible, but they feel like they cant do anything about . The best way to handle this is to talk to the people you love. Your family and friends will always be there for you and besides, when you share your pain, youll instantly feel better.
Poor Diet Exercise And Sleep
Studies show that there are clear links between a persons diet, the amount of exercise they do, the quality of their sleep, and their mood. If someone isnt:
- eating healthily and drinking plenty of water
- exercising regularly
- getting the recommended amount of sleep per night,
this can leave them at an increased risk for developing depression.
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What Can The Rich People Do About These Problems
After answering the question ,why are rich people depressed? We now turn our attention to the various things that the rich people do and can further do to keep depression at bay. Some of these strategies are already used by several rich people all around the world, making it a universal way of keeping depression away and also coping with it apart from seeking therapy.
- Starting new ventures:
The main problem with the rich comes with the fact that they have greater vulnerability to sink into depression when they reach their peak and their momentum is lost. One way of steering clear of depression is to engage in new ventures.
The rich are often seen starting new business and ventures, taking over companies and launching new brands. The reason to start new ventures is not to earn more money, but it is often to maintain a sense of progress and in order to maintain the sense of progress, they start new things to work on, which gives them a new momentum.
The momentum triggers another pendulum effect that keeps them going ahead and then they can make sure that they do not halt.
One of the best examples could be Joan DiFuria and Stephen Goldbart, who co-founded a new venture that is the Money, Meaning and Choices Institute. The institute gave them an opportunity to keep the momentum running. Another example could be that of Alan Shepard, the first American man in space and the fifth on moon, went on to later become a successful businessman.
- Seeking small wins:
The Most Common Omicron Symptoms
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Why Are Rich People Depressed
Todays blog post answers the question, Why Are Rich People Depressed? We begin with understanding the rich. This is then accompanied by a detailed understanding of the various reasons that answer the question, why are rich people depressed? Lastly, we discussed the various strategies that the rich people apply or can further apply to keep depression at bay.
They Could Have A Tough Time Responding To Affection And Concern
The main misconception about depression, which has been hinted at in the paragraphs above, is that its about feeling sad.
On the contrary, depression is mostly not feeling anything, or only partially and briefly experiencing emotions. It depends on the individual, but some people with depression report feeling almost numb, and the closest thing to an emotion they experience is a kind of sadness and/or irritation.
Because of this, appropriately responding to gestures or words of affection will be difficult for them, or they just dont think about it any more.
They may even get irrationally irritated or annoyed with you over it, because it may simply be too difficult for their brains to process and respond to your loving gestures.
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What You Can Do To Feel Better
When youre depressed, it can feel like theres no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.
Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or dont want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you. They just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.
Get moving. When youre depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.
Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
Why Reaching Out Is Important
Talking about depression and emotions is essential. The most important reason is that these things are real, says Dr. Sinyor.
We all have ups and downs. For some people, the downs can be so deep that they have a disorder. There are very few situations in life where denial and avoidance get us very far. If we can be open and honest about how we feel individually and at a societal level, it gives us the best opportunity to find paths to resilience and ultimately, thats what were all after.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
Other Reasons People Hide What They Are Feeling
Parents who are experiencing depression may worry about how their children or family could be affected. They may even fear that they will be seen as unfit parents if they admit to having feelings of depression.
The pressure to justify depression can be overwhelming, but remember the old saying that you cant judge a book by its cover. The way someone elses life appears to be may not show the whole truth.
People who are depressed may work very hard to try to hide how they really feel. On the outside, they may look and even act as though they feel OK and that everything is fine.
Whether youre experiencing depression yourself or you care about someone who is, it can be helpful to reframe how you think about the condition. Start by focusing on the causes of depression rather than focusing on reasons .
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Thinking The Worst Will Happen
Thats kind of the same as overthinking but the other way around overthinking something that will happen in the future rather than a past situation. Focusing too much on things like whether your new boss will like you or whether your date will go well only causes more stress which leads to depressive thoughts. The best way to avoid this behavior is to busy yourself with everyday chores and avoid focusing on whats to come. Keep yourself rooted in the present to stop thinking about the future.
Causes And Treatments Of Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Depression can have many causes, all of which are complex and can be difficult to understand. In some cases, feelings of depression can be clearly connected to an experience in someones life, such as a tragic loss or a violent event. Other people may be aware they have a family history of mental illness and, as a result, may not be caught off guard by a diagnosis of depression.
However, some people become depressed and dont know why. They may feel they do not have a reason to be depressedespecially if they perceive their life as being good or easy compared to others.
The pressure to explain or justify how they feel can make depression worse and may prevent people from getting necessary treatment.
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Why Talking About Depression Is Important
Lets face it, talking about what bothers us isnt always easy. Especially, if a person is dealing with depression.
So when celebrities like actor Dwayne The Rock Johnson open up about battling depression, it can have an impact on the public, and maybe get us talking about mental health.
Many people in our society look up to celebrities and some model their behaviour after them, says Dr. Mark Sinyor, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. When a celebrity says that they have struggled with depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, it sends several important messages: This is ok to talk about You can struggle and still have a meaningful and successful life Mental distress can be overcome.
In a tweet, The Rock shared this sentiment: Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it all in. Youre not alone.
Dr. Sinyor notes, as a group, men are less likely to share their struggles with mental disorders and to seek help for these conditions. The likely explanation has to do with male gender roles and the socialization of males to avoid vulnerability or perceived weakness.
That said, Dr. Sinyor emphasizes the importance of resisting blanket generalizations. It is not always the case that men bottle up their emotions. There are some men who find it easy to open up and some women who dont.