Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Surprising causes of depression

Depression is defined as:
  • A mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.
  • Sad feelings of gloom or inadequacy.
depression
Depression can affect anyone and especially people with untreatable conditions. Often I receive emails or comments about a person diagnosed with Kennedy’s Disease having acceptance issues. Usually it is the spouse or a family member who is writing.


In the past I wrote that not every health issue is related to Kennedy’s Disease. This can be true with depression (unhappiness, despair, etc.). We might initially assume our feelings are because of our condition, but it could be because something else is going on with our body.


I found the following article in Yahoo Health News interesting:sadness
 Twelve surprising causes of depression 


Five of the possible causes of depression are shown below

1. Poor sleep habits
  • It's no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it could also increase the risk of depression.  A 2007 study found that when healthy participants were deprived of sleep, they had greater brain activity after viewing upsetting images than their well-rested counterparts, which is similar to the reaction that depressed patients have, noted one of the study authors.  "If you don't sleep, you don't have time to replenish [brain cells], the brain stops functioning well, and one of the many factors that could lead to is depression," says Matthew Edlund, MD, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine, in Sarasota, FL.

2. RX Medications

  • Depression is a side effect of many medications. For example, Accutane and its generic version (isotretinoin) are prescribed to clear up severe acne, but depression and suicidal thoughts are a potential risk for some people. Depression is a possible side effect for anxiety and insomnia drugs, including Valium and Xanax; Lopressor, prescribed to treat high blood pressure; cholesterol-lowering drugs including Lipitor; and Premarin for menopausal symptoms. Read the potential side effects when you take a new medication, and always check with your doctor to see if you might be at risk.

3. Smoking

  • Smoking has long been linked with depression, though it's a chicken-or-egg scenario: People who are depression-prone may be more likely to take up the habit. However, nicotine is known to affect neurotransmitter activity in the brain, resulting in higher levels of dopamine and serotonin (which is also the mechanism of action for antidepressant drugs).  This may explain the addictive nature of the drug, and the mood swings that come with withdrawal, as well as why depression is associated with smoking cessation. Avoiding cigarettes—and staying smoke free—could help balance your brain chemicals.

4. Thyroid disease

  • When the thyroid gland in the neck doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, it’s known as hypothyroidism, and depression is one of its symptoms. If you experience new depression symptoms – particularly along with cold sensitivity, constipation and fatigue – a thyroid test couldn’t hurt. Hypothyroidism is treatable.

5. Where you live

  • You can endlessly debate whether city or country life is better. But research has found that people living in urban settings do have a 39% higher risk of mood disorders than those in rural regions. A 2011 study in the journal Nature offers an explanation for this trend: City dwellers have more activity in the part of the brain that regulates stress. Depression rates also vary by country and state.

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