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So You Are Depressed, 10 Easily Understood Reasons Why It May Be True
While []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.

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[]

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, [[link=/health_blog/fungus_versus_the_weak_and_weary]]fungal infection[[/link]], 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[]

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 [[link=/health_blog/the-last-jab-for-diabetics]]diabetes[[/link]] 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. 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[]

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.

[]5. Osteoporosis[]

As the [[link=/health_blog/aging_the_hard_way_with_osteoporosis_and_a_broken_hip]]disease of brittle bones, osteoporosis[[/link]] is yet another medical condition that is often accompanied by depression. Research conducted at the University of Melbourne and the Orygen Research Centre and Mental Health Research Institute has found in literature reviews that the relationship between low bone density and depression is disproportionately high.

Though subsequent studies have yet to be conducted to determine just how related the two conditions are, the researchers suggest that underlying issues with the immune system or hormone imbalances could tie the two conditions together. This indicates that experiencing depression may be a warning sign for osteoporosis.

[]6. Low Cholesterol[]

While low levels of cholesterol are regularly touted as very important to heart health, cholesterol is still an essential part of our bodies and at levels that are too low, health problems can occur. With respect to depression, abnormally low cholesterol levels reduce the effectiveness of message flow in the brain. This causes depression and sleep issues among other problems. According to research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, the relationship is so strong that those with low cholesterol levels and depression are 7 times more likely to die from unnatural causes including suicide. If this is not a call to seek help for those with depression, it is hard to say what might be.

[]7. Poor Diet[]

Though not a surprising contributor to depression, poor diet is a also very important cause. As stated earlier, our bodies are a series of complex chemical reactions so of all the things we regularly put into our bodies, food has the most potential to affect our mood. A joint study completed at the University College London and University of Montpellier found that those in middle age who ate diets high in fat, sugar, processed grains and processed meats were 58% more likely than those eating a healthy diet to be rated as depressed after 5 years. That is certainly food for thought...

[]8. [[link=/health_blog/were-fat-were-fat-we-know-it-were-fat]]Obesity[[/link]][]

Following closely from diet, obesity has, not surprisingly, been found to have a relation with depression. Researchers at the University of Adelaide have found that those with [[link=/health_blog/were-fat-were-fat-we-know-it-were-fat]]obesity[[/link]] often have feelings of guilt and low self-esteem as a result of stigmatization and discrimination. These feelings contribute to eating foods that provide short-term pleasure such as those high in fats and sugars that only further contribute to obesity. The [[link=/health_blog/were-fat-were-fat-we-know-it-were-fat]]obesity[[/link]] itself also limits physical activity and this lack of exercise also contributes to depression. This tie between pleasure and suffering in those who are obesity makes the condition a difficult one to overcome.
9. Time of Year[

Though by no means a new finding regarding depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a condition brought on, at least in part, by changing light levels during the year and the effects that this has on hormone levels. Those with the condition experience deep depression that can recur annually. A common form of treatment for the condition involves 30 minutes of exposure to very bright light each day to adjust hormone levels.

Unfortunately, as was found in a study from the University of Vermont, only 6% of those with the condition were able to stick to the routine. In contrast, for those seeking behavior therapy with a therapist, 93% were able to avoid recurrence of the condition. This shows that seeking assistance is a powerful way of treating the condition.

[]10. Household Mold[]

Though some of the previously mentioned causes of depression are not surprising, others are more so. In a study that was originally intended to disprove any relation between living in damp [[link=/health_blog/fungus_versus_the_weak_and_weary]]moldy[[/link]] homes and depression, a research project conducted at Brown University actually found a relationship. The studies confirmed a common belief that cold damp homes make people depressed.

Though not directly tied to the mold itself in this study, the research found that those living in homes with these problems did have higher rates of depression. Further research is being conducted to determine if the persistent coughing, fatigue, and sore throats caused by these conditions is the cause of the depression or whether the toxins in mold have a direct effect on the brain.

[]In Conclusion[]

While this is by no means a definitive list of causes for depression and  there are many other medical conditions and factors that can contribute, the more important point is that those with depression need to seek medical assistance. Whether it be caused by an underlying condition, external factors or unrecognized causes, those suffering with depression can often be helped and lifted out of their despair; sometimes they just need a helping hand.

If you have comments regarding your own depression or depression in someone close, feel free to share your comments in the [[link=/forum/topic.php?uiid=106063200,106063300[[amp]]tt=Depression]]depression forums[[/link]].

[]Related Links:[][[amp]]doi=162297[[amp]]storyID=15193
I have been wondering for a little while why I was depressed all of a sudden. I have never been depressed in my life. The medications and diet might be something to talk to the Doc about.


I had no idea depression had so many causes. After thinking about it, I suspect that there are far more than even the ones you have listed here.
As a therapist I, find it interesting that you did not mention any psychological reasons for depression--such as life events like divorce or loss that can cause people to be depressed. Depression is often a reaction to our life circumstances. Some depression can be treated with psychotherapy.
You are correct in that I didn't cover this off. I lumped the psychological reasons in with the causes that are "hard to understand". I should have been more explicit in stating this. My reasoning is that examining the psychological causes for depression is not a straight forward process in comparison to checking blood measurements or checking for signs of disease.
I am glad to know that people are finally recognizing that depression is not just a condition that is all in one's head. I used to get so angry when I would be told to "just get over it". It seemed as sif people just didn't understand that I was trying to get over it and move forward. Depression can be caused by many different things, and it can cause many different things. Rest assurred that those of us who suffer from depression are not choosing to do so.
I'm glad that you wrote this article. As a therapist, some clients come into my office facing Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) and don't understand why they have a sudden change of mood. It is very important that people see how much weather can have an effect on depression. I also liked how you linked obesity with depression as a solid exercise plan is almost as effective as a counseling session. I recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day to all of my clients. You would be amazed at how much this improves the mood.
Some times it is good to link cause and effect when it is not otherwise obvious to those affected. In this way, they may be able to at least partially manage their depression on their own.
I have heard that 20 minutes of brisk walking has the same anti-depressant effects as a certain dosage of prozac. Has anyone else heard this? Very good forum for information and clarification. Thanks!
Hi there!

I think exercise is very good for mind and body and walking regularly is pretty good.

To me, I think this is because anti-depressants don't work so well. I have seen info saying exercise was much better in many cases. The article on video games in the blog also show they work well too, maybe better than video games.


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