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Depression Basics | 3 Reasons People Feel Depressed & 6 Helpful Wellbeing Strategies

Depression Basics _ 3 Reasons People Feel Depressed & 6 Helpful Wellbeing Strategies

Table of Contents

Summary

Depression is an intense feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can impact your interest in activities, desire to be with family or friends, and your ability to live your daily life. Depression is usually triggered by family history and biology, environmental factors, and/or life events.

What is Depression?

Depression is not just a normal feeling of sadness that everyone experiences, it is more complicated than that. Depression and sadness are two very different things. So, what is depression? Depression is an intense feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can impact your interest in activities, desire to be with family or friends, and affects your ability to live your daily life. These feelings can last for several weeks or even several months at a time. 

Why Do People Feel Depressed?

Why Do People Feel Depressed?

There are many explanations as to why you may be struggling with depression. Depression is usually triggered by family history and biology, environmental factors, and/or life events. Depression can make you feel alone and like no one understands what you are going through. Please know that you are not alone!  

Family History & Biology

Depression can be linked to your biology. If a parent or an immediate family member has depression it increases your risk of developing depression. There is no guarantee that you will struggle with depression, but your family history increases your risk. 

Your brain is like a complex computer system. For example, if the battery on your phone never fully charges and stays in low power mode, your phone doesn’t work as it should, it can be slow or sluggish, and some apps or functions don’t work.

Your brain is similar and has chemicals that affect how you feel and your motivation to engage in daily activities. One of these chemicals is dopamine, which is associated with feeling happy. Some people have lower dopamine levels which can contribute to feeling depressed. Remember, feelings are never permanent. There may be times of more intense sadness, but it can get better.

Environmental Factors

Your environment plays a big role in your mental health. Even the amount of sun you get is important. Sunlight helps your brain regulate your mood, and can even help manage symptoms of depression. Sometimes, if you aren’t getting enough sunlight, your symptoms of depression can get worse.

Additionally, your home life, neighborhood, and environment can affect how you feel and contribute to negative feelings about yourself and the world. For example, growing up in a stressful home or living in a neighborhood you do not feel safe in can increase your risk of developing depression.

Life Events

Dealing with high-stress situations like a death, loss of a relationship, a big move, divorce, poverty, or homelessness can lead to symptoms of depression. Sometimes another medical or mental health disorder can increase your risk of developing depression. 

Depression Common Signs and Symptoms

Common Signs and Symptoms

It’s important to note that having some of these symptoms does not qualify as a diagnosis. If you are worried or concerned that you might have depression, talk with a chat specialist today.

  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or empty
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Less interest in activities that you typically enjoy
  • Feeling alone or isolating more
  • Academic difficulties
  • Difficulties in relationships with friends or family
  • Difficulties falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in your diet
  • Having physical pain such as stomach aches, headaches, aches, and pains, cramps, or nausea that you can’t explain
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
Depression Wellbeing Strategies

Wellbeing Strategies

Talk to a Mental Health Professional: It can be difficult to address your emotions and thoughts, experiences, and life challenges. Reaching out to a professional can help you feel better and less alone. 

Talk to someone you trust: A parent, mentor, friend, or religious leader can provide you with additional support and guidance to work through your life challenges. 

Exercise: Go for a brisk walk, run, or head to the gym for strength training, a spin class, or any group class that gets you moving. Exercise is a great way to clear your head, connect with your body. Exercise, especially, strength training two more days a week can decrease depressive symptoms. 

Get outside: Engaging in the world can be the last thing you want to do, but it could be the best thing to help counter the negative thoughts. Sunlight can help regulate your mood. 

Do something you enjoy: Watch a show or a movie with someone else, something light or a comedy. Play a game or engage in a hobby. 

Meditate, prayer, mindfulness: Connecting with your mind, body, and spirit through meditation, prayer, or mindfulness practice daily can increase overall wellbeing and lessen the effects of anxiety. 

More On Depression

Scholarly Sources

Avenevoli, S., Swendsen, J., He, J. P., Burstein, M., & Merikangas, K. R. (2014). Major depression in the national comorbidity survey-adolescent supplement: prevalence, correlates, and treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(1), 37 – 44.

Costello, E. J., Erkanli, A., & Angold, A. (2006). Is there an epidemic of child and adolescent depression?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1263 – 1271.

David-Ferdon, C., & Kaslow, N. J. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 62 – 104.

Hammen, C. L., Rudolph, K. D., & Abaied, J. L. (2014). Child and adolescent depression. In E. J. Mash & R. A. Barkley (Eds.), Child psychopathology (pp. 225-263). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

Jaycox, L. H., Stein, B. D., Paddock, S., Miles, J. N. V., Chandra, A. Meredith, L. S., Tanielian, T. Hickey, S., & Burnam, M. A. (2009). Impact of teen depression on academic, social, and physical functioning. Pediatrics, 124, 

King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A. (2012). Teen depression and suicide: effective prevention and intervention strategies. The Prevention Researcher, 19, 15.

Meredith, l. S., Stein, B. D., Paddock, S. M., Jaycox, L. H, Quinn, V. P., Chandra, A., & Burnam, A. (2009). Perceived barriers to treatment for adolescent depression. Medical Care, 47, 677 – 685.

Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3 – 17.

Weersing, V. R., Jeffreys, M., Do, M. T., Schwartz, K. T. G., & Bolano, C. (2017). Evidence base update of psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 4691), 11 – 43. 

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