Scientific reasons behind depression
Depression is more common than most people realize. In fact, according the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18% of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, and 80% of those do not seek treatment. Many people deny they are depressed, especially if they cannot come up with anything in particular that is making them feel sad. Instead of becoming frustrated about your mood changes that seemingly have no cause, consider these 9 scientific reasons you may feel depressed.
A lack of sunlight during the winter may not just be an emotional trigger – it is scientifically proven to cause depression. Some of us are more sensitive to sunlight than others and need it to keep emotionally balanced. Getting enough sunlight in the morning is especially important because it helps keep circadian rhythms in sync with daylight hours, which in turn helps keep our sleeping schedules regular. If it is too difficult to get sunlight in the winter with your schedule, try getting a Happy Lamp, which is a lamp with light meant to mimic the effects of sunlight on the brain. Related to not getting enough sun, you may have a vitamin D deficiency. Also common in the winter, a lack of vitamin D is related to feeling depressed. Thankfully, this deficiency is easily remedied with vitamin D supplements. If a lack of vitamin D is your problem, a supplement may be just the happy pill you need. Taking vitamin B, especially folic acid and vitamin B6, is also associated with mood boosting.
Negative self talk.
Negative self talk can be a big part of the problem. Often, we don’t realize how negative we talk to ourselves. We berate ourselves for the tiniest mistakes, and sometimes even for neutral events, all day long. If our thoughts manifested as an individual who followed us around and spoke the words out loud that we say in our own inner monologues, we would probably get pretty fed up with him or her. However, when the dialogue is internal and we are so used to our inner critic, we let the voice get away with abusing us. Try talking to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend, and give yourself a break.
Depression may be linked to your genetics.While sixty percent of individuals who are diagnosed with depression have causes linked to environmental factors, forty percent can trace a genetic link through their families. People with parents or siblings who suffer from depression are three times more likely to suffer as well. Scientists are not sure whether it is completely due to heredity or mostly linked to common environmental factors and influence.
Stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety are large factors contributing to depression. When preoccupied with negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts, our brain is weighed down and we are unable to enjoy ourselves. In today’s world, stresses are continuous and create a chronic stress response. This is especially true for those who “take their job home with them” and do not have time to recover and regroup from stressors before the next ones appear, leaving them depleted.
If your symptoms of depression last for weeks at a time and can’t seem to be alleviated despite changes in habits and behavior, you may have a chemical disorder in your brain. This is in no way your fault, and you shouldn’t have to deal with it alone. If you think you may have a depressive disorder, seek treatment in therapy. If diagnosed, your therapist may prescribe medication, which could make a world of difference for your mood.
Levels of certain hormones, like the ones in your thyroid gland, can affect your mood and cause feelings of depression. In women, hormone fluctuations before or during the menstrual cycle can cause mood changes as well. Some individuals are more sensitive to these hormone changes than others, and hormone regulating medications are available to those who are heavily affected
- .Lack of social or emotional contact.You may feel low because of a lack of social or emotional contact. Loneliness is a big trigger for feelings of depression. Most of our daily interactions with coworkers or others are superficial and business-oriented and not sufficient for our need of human interaction. Sometimes, even those we live with and rely on for emotional support pull away or detach, leaving us feeling lonely. Making a special effort to get the dose of social interaction we need sometimes may be required to fill this hole.
Environmental and life events.
Environmental and life events are one of the biggest triggers of depression, especially in those prone to it. Whether your job is not going well, you lost a job, lost a family member, or are going through a break up or divorce, sometimes events are out of our control. Depression is a natural response to these events. All we can do is try our best to stay positive and remind ourselves that these feelings and this event will pass.