10 Medical Causes Of Depression

2009-11-08 | |
Last updated: 2014-11-25

bigstock-Depressed-10713647While we will all experience some symptoms of depression at some time in our lives for various reasons, depression only troubles most people for a short time. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, despair, mental slowness and difficulty sleeping. However for some people, regardless of the country and culture in which they live, depression is a chronic condition.

In countries like Australia, the US, Canada and the UK, the rate of depression is between 8 and 10%. Worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression accounts for 5% of all the illness that is experienced by humankind.

How Many People Are Affected By Depression?

With approximately 11 million searches performed on Google each month for the word ‘depression’ alone, not to mention millions of other searches containing similar wording, it is obvious that many people are trying to cope with the condition. Some will experience depression themselves and others will observe it in their family and friends. In any case, depression can make life a torment and it is important to seek medical help in order to best cope with the condition.

Sadly, based on research conducted by Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), only 50% of people suffering from depression will seek assistance from a doctor. Worse still, following hospitalization as a result of depression, only 1 in 3 people will meet with their doctor within a month: a time when they are highly vulnerable. Clearly, those with depression are not seeking assistance when they should.

Though many causes of depression fall into the “hard to understand” category, medical researchers have found quite a number of causes and contributing factors for depression that have a more well understood source. If you are coping with depression personally or in your loved ones, it is important to know these possible causes when talking to your doctor about depression.

1. Medications As A Cause Of Depression

One of the most easily explained causes of depression can be from the medications that we take for a given illness. Our bodies are, at their most basic, a complex set of ongoing chemical reactions. As a result, taking medications is a way of changing the chemistry in our systems and this change can affect our thought patterns and lead to depression.

In a review study completed at the University of Calgary in 1993, researchers compiled a list of medications for which sufficient evidence exists to suggest they cause depression. In the list were drugs used to treat insomnia, high blood pressure, nerve pain, fungal infection, irregular heartbeat, seizures, allergies, asthma, inflammation, skin disorders, etcetera, etcetera. Needless to say, if you take medication of any sort and are suffering depression, it is worth talking to your doctor to find out if your medication might just be the cause.

2. Chronic Disease Leading To Depression

Another common cause of depression in the population is coping with chronic conditions. Any number of diseases ranging from arthritis to asthma to vision deterioration to diabetes can impose significant restrictions on the day-to-day lives of those with the condition. The unpredictability of some disabling symptoms can put sufferers of a given condition at its mercy and this can be very frustrating.

As well, in conditions with progressive deterioration, patients are frequently reminded that they are losing the capacity to perform certain activities. In some cases, social contact may be reduced because getting together with friends and family becomes more difficult. Additionally, the ability to work and have a career may be compromised because of limitations imposed by the condition. Together, these hardships endured by those with chronic disease highlight several reasons why these individuals may be depressed.

To mention some specifics, research has determined that roughly 11% of those with diabetes and 16% of those with coronary artery disease will suffer depression. A study performed at the Seattle Health Studies Group Health Cooperative highlights that suffering with both a chronic condition and depression will result in 50 to 100% more use of health services by sufferers while at the same time, the rate of disease progression is increased. Clearly, if you are suffering from depression and a medical condition, it makes sense to seek medical help.

3. Depression Caused By Kidney Disease

While kidney disease is certainly a chronic condition, it is special because of the significantly higher rates of depression associated with even the early stages of the disease. Research performed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that 21% of those with chronic kidney disease (CKD) also suffered from depression. While the same reasons for depression exist with kidney disease as for those with other chronic diseases, there may well be other factors that raise this percentage. As a result, those with the condition must be especially aware of their depression risks.

4. Chronic Pain May Result In Depression

Closely related to chronic disease, but still separate is chronic pain. While many forms of pain medication have been developed to deal with chronic pain, pain is still considerably under treated in many patients. Doctors are rightly aware of addiction and misuse problems associated with prescribing pain medication, but are often too conservative in providing them to patients in need. On the other hand, patients also worry about addiction to pain killers as well as other negative health effects and as a result, suffer with the pain rather than taking pain medication.

The lack of pain treatment in patients can result in difficulties staying active or enjoying specific activities. It can also limit the social interactions that they may experience. These factors combined with ongoing suffering can lead to depression. To provide statistics, research conducted at Wayne State University found that 35% of those with chronic pain battled depression. All that said, it is important not to suffer pain unnecessarily if options exist to resolve the pain. Your doctor can answer these questions.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks, Symptom Information

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