It is normal to feel lonely, blue or sad occasionally, as these reactions are often short-lived and may pass within a day or two. However, if such ‘feelings’ already interfere with your daily life, causing pain on both yourself and the people who care for you, depression may be on the way. While this psychological condition is common, it is serious. Sadly, many people with depression don’t seek treatment.
If you are feeling depressed, it is not simple to figure out why. Oftentimes, depression does not emerge from a single cause, but rather, results from a combination of factors, perhaps past traumatic events, your present circumstances, your genes, and other things. Below are reported as the top six causes of depression in today’s society.
1. Chronic Stress
Stress can be good for you. But chronic stress can lead to elevation of stress hormone, cortisol, and decrease in serotonin and key neurotransmitters such as dopamine. These body chemicals play a crucial role on a person’s mood as well as biological processes, such as appetite, sleep, sex drive and energy. When individuals respond to a stressful situation, such as death of a loved one, the body’s stress response normally shuts off and resets but when this mechanism fails, depression may result.
There is no doubt that money is important in society. However, it is not the lack of money that ultimately leads people to become depressed; it is the process of being in chronic debt. Research from Lawrence Berger PhD, from the University of Madison, has found that when a person’s debt increases by 10 percent, symptoms of depression increase by 14 percent. Those that display the most depressive symptoms because of debt are people who are 50 and older. That is not surprising as people around this age feel that they are running out of time.
3. Poor Body Image
In a society obsessed with the ‘ideal body type’, it is not surprising for many women, even men, to be unhappy with their body image. They tend to compare themselves with the ‘thin ideal’ that is often seen in many magazines and television. Many researches have reported more women are having negative perception of their own body image, linking it to high incidents of depression often leading to suicide. Poor body image has driven many women to extreme measures such as starvation, leading to serious eating disorders – this can lead to attempts of committing suicide.
4. Divorce/Failed Relationships
Divorce is one of the most stressful events in life an individual can experience. A failed relationship is especially hard on the psyche as you have come to depend, rely, and confide in that person. Part of the emotional torment comes from the lack of hope that you will find another person that you feel the same way about.
Old age is usually viewed as the period of reflection, rest, and the chance to do the things not experienced while pursuing career and raising the family. However, the aging process is not always pleasant. Events, such as loss of loved ones and friends and debilitating medical conditions, can take a toll on the elder’s emotional wellbeing. Elderly may feel loss of control over life because of reduced motor skills and sensory impairment.
6. Death of a Loved One
Grief is one of the five natural emotions and is completely natural. However, if grief is dealt with incorrectly, it can lead to chronic depression. If grief is handled correctly, it can make one appreciate how short and fleeting life is and to start taking life by the horns.
Developing a Coping Mechanism to Deal with Depression
At one point or another in your life, you will come to face with one of the six depression-causing factors. There is no avoiding it. However, how you face it is completely up to you. To meet these things head on, you need to develop positive coping mechanisms. Coping (or defense) mechanisms are conscious efforts to try to solve your internal conflicts or problems. Some great coping mechanisms you can develop in order to cope with life’s stressors are: