Depression is an odd animal. My husband and I spent the last few days in Zion National Park, Utah. I was awestruck by the beauty of nature yet felt sad at the same time. Is that sadness depression? I’m pretty sure that was how I felt.
I have this need to name my depressive feelings hense “Awe Depression”. This got me thinking, is there a clinical name for this and other types of depression?
Google to the rescue! Following are a few of the most common causes of depression, some more surprising than others.
Maybe your mother had it. Or your uncle or your sister. Watching a family member suffer from depression can be difficult. But does that mean you also will suffer from the condition?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, and it afflicts about 5% of Americans. But for less than 1% of those affected by SAD, this form of depression strikes in the summer. “Warm weather depression is caused by the body experiencing a delay adjusting to new seasons,” says Alfred Lewy MD, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. Instead of waking and enjoying dawn, the body has a hard time adjusting, this could be due to imbalances in brain chemistry and the hormone melatonin.
Depression is a possible side effect for anxiety and insomnia drugs. Certain drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol can also be a culprit. Then there are those drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms. These among many others can cause depression, read the potential side effects when you take a new medication, and always check with your doctor to see if you might be at risk.
End of Events
When something important comes to an end, like a TV show, movie, wedding, relocation or vacation , it can trigger depression in some people. All the excitement leading up to the event has had your adrenaline in overload. When the event ends the adrenaline levels drop and so does your mood.
Where You Live
You can endlessly debate whether city or country life is better. But research has found that people living in urban settings do have a 39% higher risk of mood disorders than those in rural regions. A 2011 study in the journal Nature offers an explanation: City dwellers have more activity in the part of the brain that regulates stress. And higher levels of stress could lead to psychotic disorders.
Too Many Choices
The sheer number of options available whether it’s a beauty product, what to eat for breakfast at a restaurant or simply buying a bathing suit can be overwhelming, Not a problem for shoppers who pick the first thing that meets their needs. However, some people respond to choice overload by exhaustively reviewing their options in the search for the best item. Research suggests that this coping style is linked to perfectionism and depression.
Lack of Fish in the Diet
Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and vegetable oils, may be associated with a greater risk of depression. A 2004 Finnish study found an association between eating less fish and depression in women, but not in men. These fatty acids regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, which could explain the link. Fish oil supplements may work too; at least one study found they helped depression in people with bipolar disorder.
Poor Sibling Relationships
Although unhappy relationships with anyone can cause depression, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that men who didn’t get along with their siblings before age 20 were more likely to be depressed later in life than those who did. It’s not clear what’s so significant about sibling relationships (the same was not true for relationships with parents) researchers suggest too much squabbling is associated with a greater risk of developing depression before age 50.
Pain and depression are closely related. Depression can cause pain — and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain. Such fun! A rollercoaster of symtoms – which is causing which?
Pain and the problems it causes can wear you down over time, and may begin to affect your mood. Chronic pain causes a number of problems that can lead to depression, such as trouble sleeping and stress. Disabling pain can cause low self-esteem. Depression doesn’t just occur with pain resulting from an injury. It’s also common in people who have pain linked to health conditions.
In retrospect my Awe depression is not all that odd. If I analyze myself (this happens frequently), it seems to fall under end of event depression; I tend to worry about the trip being over while it is still happening therefore everything is that much more intense and important.
It seems self-analyzing can be enlightening. I am by no means suggesting you fire your therapist! A little self discovery never hurt anyone. Does your depression fit any of the categories I have listed? Did I miss one that you feel may cause depression in you? If so please share as we are all in this depression game together. I feel the more we learn from each other; the better equipped we become to aid ourselves in our lifelong healing process.