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Depression: Symptoms, Causes and Risk factors

Depression is a mood disorder which is causing a loss of interest and persistent feeling of sadness. Depression is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder and affects them how they behave, think and feel. Also this can lead to many emotional and physical problems. You can have problems when you are doing the everyday activities and there are some cases in which you can feel that your life is not worth living. [1] Depression is more than just a bout of the blues. It is not just a weakness. People who are affected with this condition cannot simply snap out of this condition. There are some cases in which this condition may require a long – term treatment. But if you suffer from this condition, then you should not be discouraged because there are many people who suffer from this condition but they take some natural remedies or medications and they feel better with them.

Symptoms of Depression

There are some cases in which people have depression just once in their lives but usually these people have multiple episodes of depression. During the depression episodes, symptoms can occur most of the day, nearly every day and they can include [1]:

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts or suicide [2]
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Feeling of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Change in appetite – often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people [3]
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much [4]
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in the most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even small matters
  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

Many people who suffer from depression have symptoms that are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in their daily activities such as relationships, social activities, school, work and others. Also there is another group of people who feel generally unhappy or miserable and they do not know the real cause for it.

Causes: It is not know what is causing the depression. As with many mental disorders, a many different factors can be involved such as

  • Inherited traits: Depression is more common in people who have blood relatives that suffer from it. Scientists are trying to discover the genes which are involved in causing depression. [5]
  • Hormones: If you have change in the hormone balance in your body, then this can be involved in triggering or causing depression. Hormone changes can happen from thyroid problems, menopause and with the pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (a period which is known as postpartum) and many other conditions. [6]
  • Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals and they play a big role in the depression. There are some studies in which is shown that the changes in the function of the neurotransmitters, their effects and how they interact with neurocircutis which are involved in the maintain mood stability and they can significant role in the depression and the treatment of it. [7]
  • Biological differences: People who suffer from depression are having physical changes in their brains. It is not known the significance of these changes but they may help to pinpoint the causes of this condition.

Depression: Symptoms, Causes and Risk factors

Risk factors: Depression usually begins in the teens, 20s or 30s but also this condition can happen at any age. Women are having depression in bigger percentage compared to men. Here are some factors which can increase your risk of getting depression:

  • Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive situation [8]
  • Certain personality traits, such as low – self esteem and being too pessimistic, self – critical or too dependent [9]
  • Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide
  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as sexual or physical abuse, the loss or death of a loved one, a difficult financial problems or difficult relationship [10]


[1] Steger MF, Kashdan TB. Depression and everyday social activity, belonging, and well-being. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 2009;56(2):289–300.

[2] Mackenzie S, Wiegel JR, Mundt M, et al. Depression and suicide ideation among students accessing campus healthcare. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2011;81(1):101–7.

[3] Simmons K, Burrows K, Avery JA, et al. Depression-related increases and decreases in appetite reveal dissociable patterns of aberrant activity in reward and interoceptive neurocircuitry. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2016;173(4):418–28.

[4] Nutt D, Wilson S, Paterson L. Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2008;10(3):329–36.

[5] Shadrina M, Bondarenko EA, Slominsky PA. Genetics factors in major depression disease. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2018;9:334.

[6] Duarte NS, Correa LMA, Assunção L, et al. Relation between depression and hormonal dysregulation. Open Journal of Depression. 2017;06(03):69-78.

[7] Brigitta B. Pathophysiology of depression and mechanisms of treatment. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2002;4(1):7–20.

[8] Russell ST, Fish JN. Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2016;12:465–87.

[9] Park K, Yang TC. The long-term effects of self-esteem on depression: The roles of alcohol and substance uses during young adulthood. Sociol Q. 2017; 8(3):429–46.

[10] Vitriol V, Cancino A, Weil K, et al. Depression and psychological trauma: An overview integrating current research and specific evidence of studies in the treatment of depression in public mental health services in Chile. Depression Research and Treatment. 2014.

Dr. Emil Sarsath (aka) Vijila, a licensed naturopathic doctor (BSMS) who always ensures his patients receive compassionate, and individualized care. He has extensive experience in primary care, digestive health, mental health, nervous system disorder and more.Area of Expertise – Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Foods-based Nutrition, Siddha, Panchakarma.She is always available through [email protected]


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