The symptoms of depression are emotional, physical, and psychological
and can be experienced individually or simultaneously. In order
to understand the dynamics of depression, here are some common facts.
Although researchers are getting
closer to understanding depression, no one knows exactly what happens
in the brain to cause it. We do know that most major depression
involves an imbalance of chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters,
and the limbic system, which regulates emotions, appetite, sleep,
hormone levels, and behavior. Neurotransmitters are part of a delicately
balanced communication network that controls the limbic system.
When these chemicals are in balance, you feel good; when the balance
is disrupted, you feel depressed. Here are some specific triggers
that can disrupt this balance:
It is normal to feel sad, angry, or depressed during stressful periods
that occur because of the death of a loved one, loss of income,
or divorce. But chronic stress can develop into depression.
such as an abusive childhood or an injury may lead to depression.
factors and personality types.
Depression may run in the family. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
are factors that can cause or increase depression.
diseases or major illnesses.
Immune system diseases, illnesses, surgery, and physical pain can
Certain medications have side effects that can cause depression;
consult with your physician if this is an issue.
or drug abuse can cause an imbalance of brain chemistry
leading to depression.
imbalance. Changes in hormone levels may contribute to
depression. A fluctuation or a decrease in hormones during childbirth
or menopause can precipitate depression in women. Postpartum depression
is fairly common among new mothers; approximately 80 percent of
new mothers experience stress-related symptoms of depression.
patterns of negative thinking. What you think affects your
brain chemistry. Constantly focusing on the painful, disappointing
parts of life can have a lasting detrimental impact on your brain
chemistry and your moods.
constant negative thinking, such as self-blame or inadequacy, can
fuel the fire of depression by adversely affecting the chemical
balance in your brain, the converse can be true as well—a
chemical imbalance can intensify negative thinking. Finding a way
out of this cycle may seem impossible, but changing your pattern
of thinking can lead the way.
you understand how your thought processes work, you can begin taking
steps to change the patterns of negative thinking that cause or
thoughts are myths you have accepted about yourself, your family,
or your life as truth, based on information accumulated throughout
your lifetime. For nearly every topic or experience, you may have
painful memories, judgements about yourself, even labels like “stupid,
incompetent, or worthless.”
negative thinking in your conscious or subconscious mind can become
a habitual thought pattern. When these silent, or not so silent,
thoughts are triggered, you may first notice an emotion instead
of the thought. For example, when Laura arrived at work one morning,
she noticed that she was suddenly upset. When she examined her emotions,
she realized that she was scheduled to complete a task that she
had struggled with in the past. She was dreading the day’s
work because she already believed that she would fail. Every time
she started to work, she was interrupted by the thought, “I
can’t do this. I already know that I am not good at this.”
Her perception of the situation not only made her upset, but prevented
her from trying to do her work.