Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Causes Depression?

"According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. And depression is a major cause of suicide." ~ Psychology Today

Feeling sad from time to time can be challenging to deal with, but the diagnosis of depression is not the same. Clinical depression has the tendency to tamper a patients plan to live a fulfilling life.

"Depression is the most common mental health disorder after anxiety disorders. It affects 7% of adults in the United States in any given year, with a lifetime prevalence of 21% of all Americans. According to the World Health Organization, it is the leading cause of worldwide disability. Men and women may experience depression differently. Women are affected at twice the rate of men, while men with depression are more likely to die by suicide. There are also gender differences in the way symptoms are experienced."

And suicidal tendencies increase with depression. For those that haven't experienced depression, it's difficult to describe. Most people respond to sufferers from depression with, "why don't you think happy thoughts." Let's be clear: those suffering from depression are not a monolith. In other words, grouping all sufferers of depression in a single box is a mistake.

What Causes Depression
It's not completely clear what causes depression explicitly. Although some suggest the following can be contributors: biological, environmental, upbringing, genetics, brain chemistry imbalance, poor nutrition, physical health issues, drugs, stress can all contribute to depression.  I would add another element, spirituality. If people are dissatisfied with their spiritual walk (whatever that might be), depression can be a factor. Since I am a Christian, I believe that if you're always unsure of your salvation or standing with God, a person is more likely to suffer from depressive episodes.

Clinical depression can take several forms. Some examples are:

Major Depressive Disorder
Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Postpartum Depression

Professionally diagnosed mental illnesses should be taken seriously. Regardless of your faith in Christ, which is vitally important, the physiological symptoms of depression are real, and critical to confront. Consult with your spiritual counselor and seek professional counseling. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of and seeking treatment is wise.

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