Depression: Potential Causes And Concerns

Sad businesswomanDepression is a mental health disorder, which is characterized by prolonged periods of feeling sad, distraught and even suicidal. Most of us have days when we feel a bit down, but this is not depression; depression is a persistent period of low mood and it can have a devastating impact on your day to day life and the relationships you have with others.

What causes depression?

There are many factors, which may trigger depression or contribute to feelings of despair and sadness, which persist over a long period of time. Many people say that they become depressed as a result of a combination of factors or a series of events, which bring about a ‘downward spiral’. Common triggers include:

  • traumatic life events, such as losing a loved one
  • illness and poor health
  • relationship issues
  • unemployment and financial pressures

Other possible risk factors for depression include pregnancy and giving birth, family history and certain personality traits; research suggests that some people have personalities, which make them more susceptible to depression.

Alcohol and drug abuse can also contribute to depression and often, this creates a vicious cycle, in which you drink or take drugs to escape feelings of depression and then feel worse once the effects of the drugs or alcohol have worn off.

consulting-doctorWhat are the solutions and when should I see a doctor?

Depression is a subject of great debate and interest in today’s society and it is no longer considered a taboo subject, although it is still dismissed as something that can be ‘shaken off’ by some people. The good news is that help is available in many forms and most people make a full recovery with the relevant treatment and support.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, you should see your doctor. Symptoms of depression may affect the body and mind; they include:

  • disturbed sleep
  • mood swings and irritability
  • feeling very low for a prolonged period of time
  • experiencing feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • low energy levels and a lack of interest and motivation
  • changes in body weight
  • constipation
  • lethargy
  • experiencing difficulty making decisions
  • feeling worried, concerned and anxious
  • having suicidal thoughts
  • lack of interest in sex and relationships with others
  • feeling guilty
  • avoiding social gatherings


697319_even_angels_cryHormone therapy may also be an option for men over the age of 35, who may be going through the andropause, the male equivalent of the menopause. To read more about this, visit

There are various different treatment options for depression, including medication, talking therapies, exercise and self-help groups; sometimes, a combination of treatments will be used, such as talking therapies in addition to medication.

The treatment method chosen is usually dependent on the severity of depression; mild cases may not require formal medical treatment and doctors may encourage lifestyle changes and adopt a wait and see policy to see if implementing these changes has a positive impact.