We’ve all felt down, and gone through short, or even extended, periods of grief or irritability. We have attended to our feelings during significant life changes like:
- Death of a loved one
However, sometimes the extreme feelings or disruptions to our normal life don’t pass. If this is the case for you, you may be experiencing depression. It’s essential to look at the symptoms of depression and its causes to better know how to get the help and relief you need.
Considering depression impacts nearly 19 million American adults, it’s possible you’ve already lived with its effects— or even triumphed over them.
If you’re still trying to sort it all out, that’s okay. Let’s dig a little deeper here together to get a better understanding of what:
- Depression is
- Causes it
- You can do to get help if you need it
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities. Work, school, social activities, or relationships with others are usually affected.
It’s not uncommon for people to have more than one episode of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur for a majority of the day every day. Symptoms usually include:
- Little or no interest or pleasure normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports.
- All types of sleep disturbances, including insomnia or even sleeping too much.
- Tiredness and lack of energy. Even small tasks take it out of you.
- Changes in weight and appetite, whether its reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain.
- More anxiety, agitation, or restlessness than usual.
- Lethargic thinking, speaking, or body movements.
- Consistent feelings of worthlessness, guilt, self-blame, or fixating on past failures.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.
- Frequent or recurring suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or thoughts of death.
- Physical problems that have no explanation like back pain or headaches
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
- Outbursts of anger, irritability or frustration, particularly over small matters.
What Depression Looks like in Your Child or Teen
The signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences based on the child’s age.
- Symptoms of depression in younger children may show up as:
- Aches and pains
- Refusing to go to school
- Being underweight
- Symptoms and signs of depression in teens may include:
- Feeling negative and worthless
- Poor performance or poor attendance at school
- Feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive
- Using recreational drugs or alcohol
- Eating or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Avoidance of social interaction
What Are the Main Causes of Depression?
Depression does not arise from a weakness of character. It is a very common emotional experience that is caused by a variety of triggers.
Pinpointing the specific triggers of an individual’s depression will assist you and your doctor in coming up with a successful treatment plan.
Several factors may increase the chance of depression, including the following.
Various forms of past abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional, can increase an individual’s vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
Certain medications can increase your risk of depression.
If you are biologically vulnerable to develop depression, personal conflicts, or disputes with family members or friends can be a trigger.
Any death or loss. Sadness or grief caused by death or loss is natural, but it may also increase the risk of depression.
It could be in your genes. Experts believe that depression is a complex trait, meaning that there are probably many different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk.
Major life events can trigger depression. It’s easy to see how events like moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring could trigger depression but don’t overlook the effect that good events such as starting a new career, graduating, or getting married can have on you as well.
Social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.
Depression can also co-exist with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.
About 30% of people who struggle with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression. Drugs or alcohol may temporarily make you feel better, but in the end, they will aggravate depression.
Hormone imbalances, whether they are caused by biological life transitions like puberty, menopause, and andropause or other unrelated conditions, can be an underlying cause of depression.
The Hormones that Impact Depression
Let’s take a look at what hormones play a part in depression.
Estrogen increases your serotonin levels, which helps fight depression and promotes sleep. It also boosts GABA. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter that raises endorphins, which makes you feel good.
Women with lower estrogen levels often found during menopause that they experience feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Progesterone is the hormone that balances out estrogen. It helps promote sleep and has a natural calming effect. It also normalizes libido, is a natural diuretic and a natural antidepressant.
People with a progesterone imbalance experience insomnia, mood swings, and bad moods.
Cortisol is the hormone that is released when you get stressed out. If its levels rise too high or fall too far below average depression can be an outcome.
The symptoms of high levels of cortisol are agitation, increased belly fat, insomnia, and sugar cravings. Low cortisol levels may cause an inability to handle stress, extreme fatigue, low libido, and mood instability.
Researchers haven’t found the correlation between the symptoms of depression and low testosterone, but they do know that testosterone therapy can boost the mood of many people with low T, particularly older adults.
Low testosterone doesn’t only affect men’s mental health. Women who have low T can experience depression too. Most women diagnosed with low T are going through perimenopause or are postmenopausal.
When to See a Doctor
If the symptoms of depression are familiar to you, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. Start by talking to a non-judgmental friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
If You’re Ready to Feel Better
We’re here to help! Our Evexipel practitioners are here to work from the bottom up, not just to put a band-aid on your problems. If you are suffering from depression or are going through perimenopause, menopause, or adrenal fatigue, we can help.
Many have been programmed to believe that antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications are their only options to treat depression. We can assure you that other options are available, and we have seen successful results using a holistic treatment approach with our patients.
Contact Us Today
The first thing to do is to make an appointment for a consultation, allow us to administer tests which will give us a better understanding of what is going on with your hormone levels, and work out a customized treatment plan that’s just right for you.
Treatment will likely include bio-identical hormone replacement pellet therapy to get your hormones back in balance as well as proper nutritional counseling, supplements, exercise, talk or group therapy, and stress relief practices that will help offset depression, lower stress and decrease cortisol levels.
If You Need Emergency Help
Untreated depression can have serious consequences. You may need immediate help. If it has become so bad that you want to hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
If you are having suicidal thoughts:
- Call your doctor or mental health professional.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
If a loved one is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if it can be done safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Depression Doesn’t Have to Last Forever
Although it may seem like it, depression doesn’t have to last forever. With the right treatment plan, this can be a temporary situation. It may be difficult at first to reach out for help— that is one of the ways that depression can keep its hold on you.
Take it one step at a time, and you will get relief. Start by calling someone you trust today or finding an EvexiPEL practitioner near you. We’re here to help!
- Image attribution.
- Article Reviewed By The Medical Faculty and Advisory Review Board