Each year, approximately 18.5 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness. Unfortunately, more than half of these Americans do not seek treatment and this can lead to further issues including hospitalization and suicide. Most of the time, adults are not aware they are suffering from mental disorders such as depression until it is too late.
What most do not realize is that depression can be caused by several factors or any combination of them. However, no matter the cause, or causes, of someone’s depressed feelings, seeking the help of a qualified and licensed therapist is highly recommended in most cases.
As research is completed, it has been concluded that someone with a relative that suffers from clinical depression in nearly five times more likely to develop the disorder themselves. Scientists believe that a genetic link can be found in up to 40 percent of those whom suffer from depression and have even isolated a prevalent gene, chromosome 3p25-26, in some families.
2. Hormone Levels
One’s mood is highly regulated by a person’s endocrine system and the hormones it produces. Rapid or extreme changes in hormone levels can cause depression in pregnant and postpartum women, those suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or menopause. Men are also likely to experience clinical depression due to other sex hormone imbalances including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
3. Medical Conditions
Other causes of hormone imbalances are caused by issues with one’s thyroid. Both hyperthyroidism, caused by an overactive thyroid, and its counterpart hypothyroidism, may present themselves during periods of hormonal flux in men and women. Women may be misdiagnosed as having a panic disorder or anorexia when, in fact, she is suffering from an underactive thyroid.
Adrenal issues are another hormone-related cause of depression. If someone seems to feel sluggish, moody, or depressed, they may have a chronic imbalance in their stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Stressful life situations, and the inability to cope with them, can lead to these imbalances. Seeking treatment from a therapist helps those suffering from stress-related depression to learn healthy coping mechanisms when life gets tough.
5. Substance Abuse
Although no direct cause-and-effect has been found between substance abuse and depression the two are very closely linked. Drug and alcohol use may increase an underlying risk for mental disorders or make the symptoms worse. A person’s attempts at recovery from addiction may even cause depression. Those suffering from substance addiction often seek therapy services in order to learn how to fight these closely-related illnesses.
Depression is a serious medical illness that affects how one feels, thinks, and acts. Those suffering from depression may feel sad, lose interest in regular activities, and have changes in their diet, sleeping patterns, or thinking.
If you believe you may suffer from a clinical depression, be sure to consider all the factors that may be contributing to those feelings and seek a professional’s help for the tools and treatments that will allow you to fully live your life again.