Depression is something that affects millions of Americans every year. In fact, 1 in 10 of us will face depression. It’s more prevalent in women than men, according to WebMD.
Depression can have its roots in our genes, our relationships and our environments. It can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, a difficult relationship, a death or stress at work.
Some reasons are more obvious than others, but there are causes for depression that can sneak up on us and catch us off guard. Let’s take a look at a few.
1) Physical Illness
Medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis are known physical issues that can cause depression. Many of us will ask loved ones with these maladies if they’re in any pain, if they need help with food preparation, getting to and from hospital visits or with medication.
But we may forget how people are affected mentally and emotionally by their physical illnesses. In fact, patients themselves may not even realize it.
Lack of independence, lack of sleep, fear, guilt and pain can all contribute to depression. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers some eye-opening statistics about physical ill-health and depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Cancer: 25 percent of cancer patients experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
Strokes: 10-27 percent of post-stroke patients experience depression. (NIMH, 2002)
Heart attacks: 1 in 3 heart attack survivors experience depression. (NIMH, 2002)
HIV: 1 in 3 HIV patients may experience depression. (NIMH, 2002)
Parkinson's disease: 50 percent of Parkinson's disease patients may experience depression. (NIMH, 2002)
Thyroid disorders can also be a cause of depression. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with any kind of medical condition, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of mental or emotional deterioration and to follow up with treatment.
2) The Weather