Many forms of mental health that affect individuals––depression being one of them. When we hear the word depression, we may often think of someone who is just sad, upset, or having a hard time dealing with emotions and feelings. It sounds like something with a simple solution, right?
While depression may sound like something you can easily snap out of, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining for many. Depression affects different areas of an individual’s life and if it goes untreated, it can have several negative effects and lead to a downward spiral.
Causes of Depression
While there are many causes of depression, some of the most common include biological and circumstantial factors. Such factors can help you trace and understand the internal and external struggles that are causing the depression. It can also give an individual a better understanding of themselves.
Common causes for depression according to Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., PsyD, CRNP, ACRN, CPH, Healthline:
- Family History: You are at a higher risk of developing depression if there is a family history of it.
- 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, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Drug Use: A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.
Depression is a Vicious Cycle
When someone is suffering from depression, it isn’t always as simple as them just bouncing back and resuming how they were prior. It can be a vicious cycle that begins with an individual being confronted with either a trigger or situation that onsets the depression.
These triggers will usually lead to low energy levels, fatigue, and a decrease in usual activities. As a result, they may be mentally and physically unable to partake in engaging activities they once enjoyed and begin neglecting self-care. If it continues to progress, said individuals can begin abandoning their responsibilities.
Next comes the increased guilt, hopelessness, and feeling ineffective. If untreated, this cycle continues to repeat itself. However, with the right intervention, the cycle can be broken. It will give the person struggling the opportunity to work through their depressive state and begin healing.
Getting Help for Struggles With Depression
When struggling with depression along with any other mental health diagnosis, some people are apprehensive about reaching out for help. It could be because of the stigma that surrounds mental health. That said, living with depression can reduce your quality of life and it can feel impossible to overcome it without professional help.
Several approaches that have proven to be successful when trying to break the cycle of depression. Some treatments for depression suggested by Timothy J. Legg Ph.D., PsyD, CRNP, ACRN, CPH are:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Learn how to say no
- Take care of yourself
- Light therapy
- Alternative therapies
If you are struggling with depression, know it’s something you don’t have to do alone. Don’t be afraid of reaching out for help as there are trained professionals who can help.
To talk to someone try a suicide hotline, counselor, or online platforms dedicated to helping you get back to a healthier version of yourself.