Last updated on May 9th, 2023 at 08:54 pm
Depression is frequently misunderstood to be the same as stress. Stress is a normal part of everyday life, whereas depression is a mental illness. Though stress is sometimes correlated to depression, they are not the same. As such, depression and its causes and prevention need to be approached differently.
People with depression can experience despair or hopelessness, impatience or hostility, and difficulty concentrating, which are signs of stress. Some physical symptoms of depression include headaches, muscle aches and pains, changes in appetite, and poor sleep habits (sleeping too much or too little). Depression is more than just feeling down or “unhappy” for a while; it’s an all-consuming illness with long-term consequences. Unlike everyday stress, it doesn’t go away on its own.
Depression is a mental illness defined by an inability to enjoy the pleasures of life. It can also be characterized as a strong sense of grief brought on by various conditions. In a given year, roughly 19.1 million Americans aged 18 and up are affected by this illness. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with depression deters many people from obtaining the care they require to alleviate their symptoms.
In this article, we’ll look at how we can protect ourselves from depression by learning more about the causes of the illness and how to prevent it from worsening.
What are the Causes of Depression?
Depression is a multifaceted illness with biological as well as psychological components. Genetics, brain chemistry, and metabolic anomalies all play a role in the development of depression. Stress, worry, and traumatic experiences are also possible contributors. Certain environmental factors, such as social isolation or a lack of exercise, might also add to the development of depressive symptoms. Being aware of these depression causes and prevention strategies can help individuals take action to prevent or manage depression.
1. Biological Factors
Genetics: Certain genes may increase a person’s likelihood of having depressive symptoms. Though these genes do not mean that an individual will develop depression, a family history of mental illness or suicide, or diseases such as bipolar disorder,r particularly among first-degree relatives, again escalates the possibility.
Brain Chemistry: Chemical imbalances in the brain, such as low serotonin or norepinephrine levels, the neurotransmitters that affect mood and anxiety, might exacerbate symptoms and lead to depression.
Metabolic Abnormalities: Some drugs might alter the brain’s chemistry, perhaps contributing to depression.
2. Psychological Factors
Some qualities can make an individual more prone to acquiring depression. Stress sensitivity and a pessimistic attitude toward life are two examples.
b. Cognitive factors
Rumination and other negative thinking habits might contribute to depression.
c. Stress and Trauma
Many people who go through stressful situations, like the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, develop symptoms comparable to depression.
What Can We Do to Avoid Depression?
Here are some strategies for dealing with stress and remaining happy:
1. Make Better Lifestyle Choices
a. Eat Healthily
Maintaining a healthy weight and energy levels requires a well-balanced diet. Certain foods can aid in the prevention of depression by boosting your mood, reducing stress hormones, and enhancing the body’s ability to produce mood-altering neurotransmitters. These contain serotonin-producing vitamins B, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for depression causes and prevention.
b. Drink in Moderation
Alcohol is a depressant that affects the brain and nervous system by lowering neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
c. Get Adequate Sleep
Getting enough sleep might help you feel better physically and mentally. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, so getting enough sleep every night is critical.
Aside from improving overall health, exercise enhances your mood and increases the number of neurotransmitters in your brain, which can help you avoid depression.
2. Take Better Care of Yourself
a. Spend Quality Time By Yourself and With Others
Making time for yourself in your busy schedule will help you feel more relaxed and cheerful. Also, spending time with family and friends, participating in fun activities, and unwinding at the end of the day can all help to keep depression at bay.
b. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Aim for self-improvement daily. We are more inclined to feel depressed when we consider how badly we have failed or performed compared to others. Doing so makes us feel like we aren’t good enough. Instead, learn to appreciate yourself by looking at your unique qualities and even the smallest achievements.
c. Establish Objectives
Setting personal goals can help you attain personal achievement and pleasure. Having an optimistic outlook on life can also help you avoid depression.
d. Learn How to Manage Stress
When you’re under a lot of stress, you’re more likely to develop depression and anxiety. Learning how to deal with stressful events can help you in the long run.
3. Interact with Others
Talking with other people has been scientifically demonstrated to be the most effective way to relieve stress and improve one’s outlook on life. A friendly chat is an excellent stress reliever. When we are under constant strain and stress, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol, but when we talk with people, our bodies release the “feel-good” hormone dopamine.
a. Have a Conversation with Family or Friends
Confiding with a trusted friend or a beloved family member can be pretty cathartic. Studies show that most people feel less anxious after interacting with others. We can communicate our feelings and thoughts in a secure setting when we do so with someone we trust.
Talking to others about our concerns is an excellent way to relieve stress as the other individual can often provide solutions and insights that we may not have considered. We gain access to various viewpoints that might help us understand challenges in new ways, hopefully in a more positive light.
b. Seek the Advice of a Mental Health Professional.
People who believe they are depressed should seek expert help. The same goes if you think a friend or a family member is going through a depressive state. Here are some reasons why you (or someone important to you) should see a mental health professional:
Mental health professionals help people find hope and healing. Depression is a severe condition that requires prompt treatment. Thus those with depression should schedule an appointment as soon as they notice signs of depression.
Mental health professionals help discover ways to manage depression and live with it without difficulty. Talking can help individuals with depression better understand their feelings, making it easier for them to develop coping strategies or solutions to their problems.
Many mental health professionals can prescribe medications that might be needed.
Depression is more prevalent than ever these days of the pandemic. It is, without a doubt, a significant mental health issue. Overcoming depression isn’t something that happens by chance; it needs a lot of effort, patience, and sometimes medication. Numerous techniques related to Depression causes and prevention can help you avoid depression. We’ve only touched on a few of them.
The most important thing is to ensure your well-being and the safety and well-being of those you love. If you are struggling with depression, talk to a mental health professional.
Rick Kaselj MS, is a leading kinesiologist and injury specialist as well as co-creator of the best-selling Unlock Your Hip Flexors program. Rick creates exercise programs that help people heal injuries and eliminate pain, so they can go back to living a full, active, healthy life.