Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. The condition makes an individual feel sad, low on energy, hopeless and is generally triggered by factors such as financial loss, relationship issues, trauma, or grief. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 16.1 million adults above the age of 18 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in 2014.
While an individual’s brain chemistry and hormonal changes can also lead to depression, there are certain external factors that can lead to the development of this mental illness. Mentioned below are few of these common factors that can trigger depression:
1. Prolonged illness: An individual dealing with some form of chronic illness is more likely to experience depression. Living with a chronic condition is difficult both mentally as well as physically.
2. Smoking: It has not been established by scientists whether smoking leads to depression or vice-versa. But, it is suspected that the two have a strong relationship. Nicotine affects the brain’s neurotransmitter activity, leading to a higher level of dopamine and serotonin (mood regulating neurotransmitters in the brain). When a person smokes, it makes an individual feel relaxed and when not, it can cause anxiety as a withdrawal symptom. This can make a person feel sad and gradually leads to depression.
3. Excessive use of social media: Spending too much time on social media platforms can lead to depression. Individuals addicted to social media are very likely to face difficulty in maintaining real-life human interaction as well as companionship in the real world. They also have an unrealistic view of the world as social media portrays an entirely different imagery of the world. Gaining an insight into another’s life through social media is possible. However, this insight is not always accurate and can misguide a person. Exposure to lifestyles lived by others that may appear more glamorous may make one feel depressed.
4. Diet: A person’s diet greatly impacts whether they may experience depression. A low level of omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in salmon and vegetable oils, vitamins B-12 and B6, combined with a high intake of processed foods, hydrogenated oils, sugar, bread and cracker-like snacks, are nutritional factors that can lead to depression.
5. Zero physical exercise: Sitting for long hours and not indulging oneself in any form of physical exercise can cause depression. This is because exercise is considered to be a mood boosting activity. A lack of physical activity can lead to low mood and in turn, trigger depression.
6. Sleep deprivation: Poor quality sleep is known as one of the symptoms of depression. There have been studies suggesting that lack of proper sleep actually contributes to depression. Improper sleep does not allow the brain cells to replenish properly, which impacts the brain’s functioning and in turn, can trigger depression.
Treatment for depression
Depression can be treated and a person can live a normal life. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression and is looking for depression help centers, the Depression Treatment Helpline can accordingly assist. You may call our 24/7 helpline number at 866-619-7729 or chat online with one of our representatives to learn about the best treatment centers for depression.