Depression is a common mental health condition characterized by feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness, and helplessness. It often interferes with daily life and your ability to function.
While the exact cause of depression is unknown, many contributing factors are believed to have an impact. Here are a few causes and ways to deal with depression.
The Regions of the Brain
Your brain is a powerhouse for the rest of your body. Different areas of the brain help to regulate your mood. The amygdala, hippocampus, frontal lobe, and thalamus all affect your emotional regulation and ability to cope with stressors.
Research has shown that nerve cell growth, connections, and functioning of nerve circuits may play a larger role in the development of depression.
Your Family Genes
Many illnesses and conditions can be traced back through family history.
There isn’t a specific gene that can be linked from one family member to another, but studies have shown this trend to be true. It could be due to biology, or it could be a result of learned behavior. When you grow up around someone who struggles with depression, their actions and coping mechanisms can influence your own development.
Going through a significant life event, especially when unaddressed, can lead to depression. Suffering childhood trauma can make you more vulnerable to depression later in life. These experiences affect how you cope with stress and how you perceive the world around you. As life becomes more complex, it can spiral into depression.
Adult experiences of stress or trauma can trigger the onset of depression. Things like losing a job, ending relationships, moving, and childbirth, bullying, abuse, or assault can be difficult to cope with and lead to depression.
Medication and Other Substances
If you’re taking certain medications for another condition, it’s possible that depression could be a side effect. Always read the information about your medication and discuss it with your physician for more information.
Recreational drugs and alcohol may seem to take away pain and mental clutter, but they actually can work the opposite. In the long run, they contribute to depression.
Managing Your Depression
You can’t necessarily prevent depression, but there are ways to cope with it.
Sleep Hygiene: When dealing with depression, sleep often gets interrupted. Whether reduced sleep is causing depression or depression is causing insomnia (or poor quality sleep), resetting your sleep schedule can be helpful. Try creating a bedtime routine and a calming environment where you sleep.
Exercise: Physical activity is one of the best medicines for life’s ailments. If you’re feeling depressed, get yourself on an exercise routine daily. This can be yoga, walking, jogging, or any high-intensity workout. As long as it’s movement, it counts.
Meditation and Journaling: Negative thoughts are a common occurrence with depression. Getting that out of your head productively can help reduce depressed feelings. Journaling out the bad thoughts (or redirecting by focusing on a positive for the day) is one option. Meditation, where you focus on clearing your mind and being present in this moment, is another productive option.
Talk Therapy: Sometimes your depression results from deeply rooted issues that require more than the self-help options. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one option that many people are familiar with. Finding a therapist to discuss these issues could be exactly what you need.
Medication: If you’re struggling with more severe or chronic depression, you may benefit from the medication route. Working with a provider, you can find a course that would fit your needs.