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causes of depression

Depression and Women

Does women suffer from depression more often than men?

Depressed ManBoth men and women suffer from depression, but studies have shown that women suffer from depression twice as much as men do. Over the decades, many things have been blamed on a woman’s biological function, and a great deal of research has been put into this.

While a woman’s biological function does play a role in depression, other factors come into play as well. Several decades ago, women had very little control over their lives. It was standard that the man of the house — whether that was a woman’s father, husband or a grown son — made the decisions and had all of the control.

This lack of control can lead to depression, both in men and women. But since it was women who were the ones without any control, it was more often they that had to deal with the depression that this causes. Today, however, women are more in control. But there are still factors that affect them, as much as men, that lead to depression, such as relationship problems, the loss of a loved one, and financial changes.Depression, sadness and lonelyness

Furthermore, society shows us images of what women are “expected” to be, and these are things that few women in the world can live up to. This in turn affects the self-esteem, which in turn can lead to depression. Women see men’s reactions to those unrealistic images, and think that this is what they are supposed to be.

Women, who were children in the sixties, are in a real quandary today. Then, the world was changing for women. Depressed Woman - All AloneThose women were raised in homes where the old standards still applied, and then tossed into the world where all of the rules, standards, and social expectations had changed. This has contributed to even more self-esteem issues. The question “Who am I, and who am I supposed to be?” becomes very hard to answer.

So, yes, women do suffer from depression more often than men, and while hormones do play a role, there are many other aspects of life that also contribute to depression for women.

Never assume that a female is just suffering from PMS and that everything will be better in a few days!

Differences between male and female depression:
Women tend to: Men tend to:
Blame themselves Blame others
Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated
Feel anxious and scared Feel suspicious and guarded
Avoid conflicts at all costs Create conflicts
Feel slowed down and nervous Feel restless and agitated
Have trouble setting boundaries Need to feel in control at all costs
Find it easy to talk about self-doubt and despair Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair
Use food, friends, and “love” to self-medicate Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate
Adapted from: Male Menopause by Jed Diamond

Mental Health and Grief

Grief and Mental Health – When the Two Merge

Grief is something that we all experience at one time, or another.  The stages of grief – sometimes explained as 3, 5 or 7 different stages – are pretty well known and include shock, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance in some order.  Most people will struggle but eventually come to some resolution with no prediction as to how long that will take.

Resolution of deep sorrow can be made much more difficult when a pre-existing mental illness is imposed.  A severe loss can trigger a relapse of virtually any mental illness, even when the illness was well treated, and the patient was stable.  Patients may relapse into severe depression, bipolar episodes, panic attacks or a return of obsessive compulsive behavior.  If the patient was not well stabilized, the whole apple-cart can be upset.

Depressed and Suicidal GirlEven the most mentally healthy person can become unstable if unable to resolve the feelings caused by painGrief has been known to result in clinical depression, lasting for a long period which can lead to extreme difficulties and even death in the case of suicide.  The problem comes in a case where one becomes “stuck” at a certain point – usually during the agitation period.

There is a saying;   “depression is anger turned inward.”  The existence of anger over an extended period can cause depression.

Anger allows us to have a heightened response to a threatening situation.  Anger fuels energy, giving us a false sense of power, but over time, the brain and the body run out of that same energy.  This can result in fatigue, emotional lability, and symptoms of depression.  In some cases, depression caused by grief may be resolved with grief counseling.

In other cases, however, depression may have become severe enough that medication may be warranted.  Clinical depression is characterized by:

•    Fatigue and decreased energy
•    Cloudy thinking
•    Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
•    Insomnia or excessive sleeping
•    Irritability
•    Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
•    Body pain or digestive problems
•    Persistent sad or empty feelings
•    Thoughts of suicide

How different is this from grief – not much.  The only difference would be in how long it lasts.  Depression carries a high risk of suicide and if symptoms last longer than what would be considered “normal” – for any reason – you should seek treatmentMental Health ChaosDepression that is severe enough to interfere with normal activities for longer than four to six weeks should be treated – even if life circumstances explained it.  Counseling may work – or you may need medication for a short period.

If you have some known mental disorder, stay in contact with your mental health professional.  Most – and I did not say “all”, but most mental health patients find it difficult to self-assess, some find it difficult to be openly honest.  The only way to ensure that an episode of grief is resolved without severe consequences of going “off track” is to allow someone else to help assess your mental state.

Whether you are or are not a mental health patient, know that grief can cause mental illness and can worsen an existing illness – even if only for a short time.  It is not something to be dismissed or ignored as the risks are high.

Melissa Lind

Depression is Anger Turned Inward

Depression in Young Children

Child’s may become depressed because of several different things

Today, we are more aware of teenage depression, but there still isn’t enough said about depression in younger children. Depression in young children is not as common as teenage depression, but it does still exist, and it is still a significant problem. Did you realize that even babies can suffer from depression?

Depression in ChildrenIn children, depression shows itself through developmental delays, failure to thrive, sleeping and eating problems, social withdrawal or anxiety, separation anxiety, and dangerous behavior. Unfortunately, children are not yet equipped to express depressed feelings in simple words. They may not even be old enough to know what those feelings are. So, for the most part, a child’s depression is expressed in other ways and actions.

When an adult becomes depressed, their first stop may be their medical doctor’s office, followed by an appointment with a therapist. With children, it does not necessarily work this way. Instead, you may need an appointment with a child psychologist so that an assessment for depression can be done, using the Children’s Depression Inventory.

If the child psychologist determines that the child is indeed depressed, he or she may want a physical workup done by the child’s pediatrician to determine whether the cause of the depression is physical. A child may be depressed because there is simply a family history of depression. (Genetically illness) Child’s become depressed because of things going on in their lives, or because of a medical problem.

In most cases of depression in children, the cause of the depression can be associated with more than one of these causes. So, if your child is found to be depressed, and medical reason for it is discovered, you should still seek out answers and determine if one of the other factors — problems in their lives or genetics — are also contributing.

The important thing is to watch your child closely. Is your child getting along with other children? Are they growing and developing as they should? If either of these things isn`t happening, you should seek help before the problem escalates.

Depression in children is not as common as depression in teenagers!

Causes of Depression

Anxiety can also bring on depression.

For some people, the depression can become quite serious while it for others has a reasonable cause and passes without seeking treatment. But because we are all unique, the causes of depression are widely varied. What depresses some may not adversely affect someone else.

Melanchony and DepressionWhile each person is unique, we all suffer from depression from time to time.
There are numerous treatments available for depression, and these treatments will most likely help you. However, the surest treatment for depression is finding the cause and dealing with that underlying problem. Finding the problem, however, may not be easy for some.

Many things in life that will naturally cause depression. For example, grief is a form of depression, and it is perfectly normal. However, if the symptoms of depression — even in times of grief — start interfering with your life, a problem may exist. Typically with grief, the feeling of loss and sadness may continue for an extended period of time. However, those feelings should not interfere with your day-to-day life.

Financial problems may also cause depression, as well as marital problems. However, not all depression is caused by life events. Sometimes depression has a physical underlying problem. This may be an illness or another health problem, but it could also be a chemical imbalance that can easily be corrected with medication.

Also note the risk factors associated with depression. These include a family history of depression, a serious life event, stress, abuse, or death or illness of a loved one.

Again, the causes of depression are numerous and varied, but seeking treatment and finding the cause is half the battle. Sometimes, it is the entire war because once the problem is identified; it can be more easily dealt with.

– Kurt Pedersen

Helpful resource: The Easy Calm Video Coaching Series

(The Leading Anxiety and Panic Attack Coaching Series in Downloadable Video Format)