What Causes Depression and Anxiety
Posted on May 17, 2012 by Dr. Sophie
Most of us will suffer depression and anxiety at some time in our lives because often what causes depression and anxiety are factors often beyond our control.
Understanding what causes depression and anxiety can help us decide on a treatment and and work out how we can beat depression naturally.
This is the second article in a series about depression and chronic pain. Although this obviously applies to people with osteoarthritis, it doesn’t matter what is causing the pain and this will apply to many people who have depression due to an external influence.
What causes depression and anxiety- external factors.
WebMD summarises these well in this article on what causes depression and anxiety
- Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.
- Certain medications. For example, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers or reserpine, can increase your risk of depression.
- Conflict. Depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
- Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, can also increase the risk of depression.
- Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is passed genetically from one generation to the next. The exact way this happens, though, is not known.
- 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.
- Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.
- Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.
- Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.
Most of these are transient factors in our lives and, as I talked about in my first article, all depression is transient. However with some people what causes depression and anxiety seems to be much deeper rooted and the mood is more difficult to lift for any length of time.
As this list shows most of the time we know what causes depression and anxiety but sometime people suffer for no apparent reason.
The size of our brain may be what causes depression and anxiety
These may be the poor souls who Web MD describe like this:
- Researchers have noted differences in the brains of people who are depressed as compared to people who are not. For instance, the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is vital to the storage of memories, appears to be smaller in people with a history of depression than in those who’ve never been depressed. A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a calming brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter that allows communication between nerves in the brain and the body. It’s also thought that the neurotransmitter norepinephrine may be involved in depression.
- Scientists do not know why the hippocampus is smaller in those with depression. Some researchers have found that the stress hormone cortisol is produced in excess in depressed people. These investigators believe that cortisol has a toxic or poisonous effect on the hippocampus. Some experts theorize that depressed people are simply born with a smaller hippocampus and are therefore inclined to suffer from depression.
If you have osteoarthritis then it may be what causes depression and anxiety for you or it may be a more complex than that. I do believe medication has it’s place in treating both osteoarthritis and depression but we should also explore more natural remedies with less side effects as well.
No matter what causes depression and anxiety I believe many would benefit from trying to treat beat their depression naturally. Over the coming days I am going to explore different natural therapies and treatments for depression and anxiety, including meditation, supplements and natural remedies. Join us on Facebook so you can receive update on this series.
- Avoiding Arthritis – Related Depression and Anxiety (earlsview.com)
- Depression and Osteoarthritis – A Guide to Depression and Osteoarthritis (earlsview.com)
- Depression and osteoarthritis. (earlsview.com)
- Depression Can Worsen Knee Pain (earlsview.com)
- The Planet : Supplements for Anxiety (nutraplanet.com)
- Arthritis Linked to Depression (earlsview.com)
- One-Third of Adults with Arthritis Suffer From Depression and Anxiety Too (earlsview.com)
- Physiology, Brain Chemicals and Hormones in Depression and Bipolar Disorder (everydayhealth.com)
- Discovery Health “Is there a link between arthritis and depression?” (earlsview.com)
- The burden of depression in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (earlsview.com)