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Depression: Meaning, Cause and Treatment

Depression is an extremely complex disease, it can affect anyone at almost any age. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it can occur for a variety of reasons. Some people experience depression during a serious medical illness. Others may have depression with life changes such as a move or the death of a loved one.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

What Are the Main Causes of Depression?

There are a number of factors that may increase the chance of depression, including the following:

1.Abuse
Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.

2.Certain medications
Some drugs, such as isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk of depression.

3.Conflict
Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

4.Death or a loss
Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

5.Genetics
A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought 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. The genetics of depression, like most psychiatric disorders, are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases such as Huntington’s chorea or cystic fibrosis.

6.Major events
Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events.

7.Other personal problems
Problems such as 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.

8.Serious illnesses
Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.

9. Substance abuse
Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol temporarily make you feel better, they ultimately will aggravate depression.

But there are some things you can do to cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are five tips for living with depression:
1. Reduce Your Stress
When you’re under stress, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. In the short-term, this is a good thing because it helps you gear up to cope with whatever is causing the stress in your life.
2. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances.
But, you might feel like you just can’t fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.
3.Improve Your Eating Habits
Research continues to find clear links between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry has become mainstream.
4. Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood.
5. Create a Wellness Toolbox
A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.
The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it’s important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.

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