Understanding the Causes of Depression

Understanding the Causes of Depression

Research from the World Health Organization states that almost 300 million people worldwide are afflicted with depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects 8.1 percent of Americans over the age of 20. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, although men are at a higher risk of suicide.

Are you or someone you know battling with an undiagnosed case of depression? It’s important to know how to recognize the major symptoms so that you can get help:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite
  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
  • Having a harsh view of yourself and low self-esteem
  • Impairment in concentration and focus

There is not a single known root cause for depression, but there are several health factors that can increase your risk.

Notable Causes of Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and assists the brain with proper functioning. The human body makes vitamin D when our skin interacts with sunlight, creating a viable form of the nutrient called calciferol. Living in an area that doesn’t receive a lot of sun, or staying indoors and not getting frequent exposure to sunlight, can result in a vitamin D deficiency.

A study published in 2011 concluded that 41.6 percent of American adults do not get enough of this vitamin. As a result, these individuals have a higher risk of developing depression.

Major Life Events

A major life event can be any significant change in your lifestyle, including sudden unemployment, a debilitating illness, death or a catastrophic event such as a flood or fire. Research shows that going through a major or traumatic life event is a common factor in those with depression.

Please note that depression can also develop following a positive life event. For example, postpartum depression affects approximately 14 percent of all new mothers, and this makes childbirth one of the major causes of depression for women.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem and improve mood, thereby easing the symptoms of depression. Being active promotes emotional well-being and helps stabilize mood swings. Living a lifestyle with little to no physical activity limits the production of endorphins, which increases the likelihood of depression. Experts recommend exercising for at least 150 minutes per week for optimal physical and mental health.

Circadian Rhythm Disturbance

The circadian rhythm is each human’s 24-hour natural cycle of biological functions. This rhythm can be disrupted by working a different shift, exposure to synthetic light after dark, or changing time zones. There is significant evidence that disrupting this cycle and having interrupted sleep play an important role in mood disorders.

Depression Treatment Options

If you or a loved one are battling depression, you should strongly consider adding exercise and proper nutrition into your daily routine. Additionally, you can use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a treatment for your depression. This depression treatment is well-tolerated, doesn’t require any anesthesia and is non-invasive. According to the Mayo Clinic, TMS works well for those who haven’t experienced relief from other treatments, and it can cause full remission of the illness.

Mid City TMS is proud to offer TMS treatment to depression patients in New York City and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule your appointment by calling 212-517-1867.

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