November 12, 2016
How depression feels
One of the common misunderstandings about depression is that it's similar to feeling sad or down. Although many people with depression feel sadness, it feels much more severe than emotions that come and go in response to life events.
Depression can be
caused by a number of factors. Though a single cause cannot always be found,
experts recognize the following as possible causes:
Genetics: Depression and other mood disorders can run in
families, though family history alone does not mean a person will get
Life events: Major life changes and stressful events may trigger
depression. These events include divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss,
or financial problems.
Certain illnesses: Anxiety, long-term pain, diabetes, and heart disease may make someone more likely
to develop depression.
Drug and alcohol abuse: In some cases, drug and alcohol abuse
may cause depression. Other times, depression may cause a person to start
abusing drugs or alcohol.
Some medications: Certain prescription medicines may increase
the risk of depression. These include some high blood pressure medications, steroids,
and some cancer drugs.
causes and risk factors
Depression and women
Research suggests that
the causes of depression may be different for women than for men.
One study of twin
brothers and sisters published in The American Journal of Psychiatry
found that personality and relationships with others were more likely to play a
role in the onset of depression. In particular, the study stated that marital
problems, the relationship with parents, and lack of social support were more
likely to cause depression in women than men.
Neuroticism, or being in a negative
emotional state, was also a primary cause of depression in the women studied.
A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders also
found that women's symptoms of depression were different. The women studied
were more likely to have panic and anxiety disorders in addition to their depression.
Other studies have indicated that women
may be more likely to gain weight and have excessive sleepiness than men.
changes may also play a role in how and when depression affects them. Research
on this hormonal link has found:
Girls who have a family history of depression may be more likely
to experience the onset of depression at puberty
Women with depression have more severe symptoms during the
premenstrual phase of their cycle, even if they are already taking antidepressants
During the menopause transition, a woman's risk of
Women have a two to three times greater risk of getting
depression during this time, even if they never had depression in the past
Depression and Men
Common causes and risk factors