Having depression is a serious mental illness. You could be depressed for one particular reason, a variety of reasons, or maybe you do not even know yourself. It is important to find out what the trigger is to your depression so that you know what to tell a therapist when you go into treatment.
Depression can be a biological illness that affects your hippocampus which is a part of the brain that stores your memory. Studies have shown that people with a smaller hippocampus than others could be born with depression. A small hippocampus means having fewer serotonin receptors which causes an emotional disconnect. Excess cortisol in depressed people can shrink your hippocampus as well. By taking antidepressants, your neurotransmitters can be balanced so that you are getting the right amount of those feel-good chemicals to feel better again. Depression can also be genetic as well if you have parents, siblings, or other relatives who have passed on a gene that causes depression. This is is important information to tell your therapist so they know this is a gene that has been passed from generation to generation.
The weather can also play a part in depression as part of a condition called seasonal affective disorder. This is when there is a disturbance in your circadian rhythm when a lack of light enters your eye. This can occur most often if you live in a colder climate. A doctor might recommend you enter a light box so that you can receive a great amount of light on days when it is not sunny. Your diet can also lead to depression if you are not eating enough foods with vitamins and minerals as well as omega 3s and too much sugar. It is recommended you eat plenty of turkey, salmon, nuts, dark chocolate, fish, and milk.
Having a chronic illness can also lead to depression, especially if this is an illness that has no cure. The stress of having a chronic illness and the impact it will have on you and your family can make you depressed when it is beyond your control. It can be hard to be happy when you are under a tremendous amount of pain from diseases lupus, kidney disease, thyroid, Addison’s disease, liver, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases. It is important to know that diseases like this can be controlled through exercise, diet, changing your lifestyle and being under medication.
It is important to make sure that the medications you take do not have depression or suicidal side effects such as with barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opioids like morphine. If you are experiencing depression as a result of these prescription medications, speak to your doctor to either change doses or your medications altogether. People with depression are under the false impression that if they use drugs, those symptoms will go away. The truth is that drugs can make you feel more depressed which makes you feel you need to be under the influence more to make those feelings go away. Alcohol can trigger lethargy, sadness, and hopelessness as it is a depressant.
High levels of cortisol can affect your mental health during stressful moments. It may be moments that you chose or moments you are happy for but can still put you under a lot of stress. Examples may include starting a new job, graduation, getting married, or moving. You can be afraid of failure or that what you thought you always wanted was not what you pictured. Unexpected moments can put us in a spiraling depression like when you are grieving. Maybe you saw the death of a loved one coming or it took you by surprise. You can also grieve as a result of losing your job, seeing your kids move away, getting divorced, or retirement. You do not know how to handle these emotions and may feel you cannot be happy when catastrophic change like this occurs. This can mean having trouble sleeping, not eating, or not participating in the activities you used to enjoy.
Other mental illnesses can play a factor in depression like having anxiety. You may have bad luck when you are in crowds or trying to make new friends that you become depressed that situations others can handle smoothly are a struggle for you. It can also mean having a fear of any new changes that occur. PTSD can cause you to be depressed like if you have had to deal with trauma for a long time and feel on constant alert or have trouble sleeping from reoccuring nightmares of the events. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can have a toll on how we view ourselves and the world around us.
By finding the underlying cause of your depression, you will be able to treat it faster and more effectively than letting depression take its course. In order to be diagnosed with depression, your doctor will examine you and ask for your family history. Your doctor will also ask your about your every day thoughts and feelings and will be diagnosed based on the answers you give. Remember to be as honest as possible with your doctor so that you are referred to the right therapist and under medication that can relieve your symptoms. By exercising regularly, getting seven hours of sleep, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and doing everything your therapist says, you will learn how to be happy again.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888 570 7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.