Depression Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Effects

The symptoms of depression can take away your ability to enjoy life, and cause you to experience pain on many levels, but when you choose to come to Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center, you can begin to build a more promising future.

What is Clinical Depression

Learn More About Clinical Depression

Everyone has experienced sadness as a result of an unexpected life event. Perhaps it was being passed over for a promotion, breaking up with a long-term partner, or the loss of a parent. The situation may leave us feeling hopeless and helpless, like we cannot do anything to fix it. However, the sadness and hopelessness are directly related to the tragic life event and does not encompass everything in your life. You know you’ll get over it with time, tears, and lots of ice cream.

When the feelings of sadness and emptiness inside aren’t caused by anything in particular, when you find yourself struggling to emerge from bed each day, when you feel as though you’re failing at everything, you’re not dealing with situational depression. You’re dealing with a depressive disorder.

Depression affects everything in your life. You can’t think straight, finish a necessary task. You find yourself sleepwalking through life and wishing things would just get better. Unfortunately, the symptoms of depression don’t get better simply by wishing they would.

Depression is a mental illness that requires compassionate care and treatment in a safe environment such as the residential program at Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center. It is there that you will be able to finally tackle your depression and begin your healing process.

Depression is a serious illness that requires serious treatment. We’re ready to help you see the light and a future full of happiness and joy.

Statistics

Statistics on Depression

New cases of depression diagnosed each year have been estimated to be about 7%. Estimates of the incidence rate in 18-29 year olds suggests it is three times higher than the rates found in those age 60 and above. A difference in gender rates of depression has also been found – rates of depression in women are 1.5 to 3 times higher than what is found in men.

Causes

Causes of Depression

A single cause has not been linked to the development of depression. However, there are a number of factors that have been identified as possible causes for depression. It’s considered to be likely that most individuals who suffer from depression as a result of a number of factors. These factors may include:

Genetic: It has long been known that depression runs in families. However, depression can occur in individuals without a family history of the disorder as well. It is generally accepted that there are likely several combinations of genes coupled with environmental influences such as trauma, loss of a loved one, interpersonal problems that ultimately leads to depression.

Brain Chemistry: Imaging techniques have been used to examine the brains of individuals with depression. The areas of the brain responsible for thinking, sleep, mood, appetite and behavior appear to function at suboptimal levels in individuals with depression. Additionally, brain chemicals that contribute to the experience of pleasure and happiness have been shown to be unbalanced or at decreased levels in the brains of certain depressed individuals. Individuals with folate and B12 deficiencies are at greater risk of developing depression.

Environmental: Individuals who have a series of negative events in their lives often become overwhelmed. If they lack a support network and sufficient coping skills, they may believe that there is nothing they can do to control their life. This type of situation increases the likelihood of suicide.

Psychological: Many individuals with depression also suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses which may exacerbate the symptoms of depression. Additionally, individuals with depression may turn to alcohol or substance abuse to self-medicate their symptoms, leading to alcoholism, substance addiction and worsening depression.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders and Depression

Depression rarely occurs in the absence of other mental health conditions.

Co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Borderline personality disorder

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

There are a number of symptoms that people who have depression may experience. While it is clearly a mood disorder there are other groups of symptoms that people with depression experience. This includes:

Mood:

  • Depressed mood or extreme sadness
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Feeling worthless
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Feeling helpless to alter the course of their live
  • Pre-occupation with death or comments about suicide
  • Excessive guilt

Behavioral:

  • Slow speech or poverty of speech
  • Decreased work performance
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Social withdrawal
  • Decreased productivity when attempting to complete tasks
  • Psychomotor changes – agitation or slowed movements

Physical:

  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Agitation or motor retardation
  • Fatigue, no energy to do anything, even those things the individual used to look forward to or found exciting

Psychological:

  • Trouble maintaining a logical thought process
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Inability to make decisions

Effects

Effects of Depression

Depression can impact nearly every facet of an individual’s life. If left untreated, the symptoms of depression tend to worsen over time, making prompt and proper treatment necessary. Some of the most common effects of depression may include:

  • Increased risky behaviors such as drug abuse and promiscuous sexual activity
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Divorce
  • Estrangement from children
  • Decreased productivity at work or school
  • Stroke
  • Trouble making health care choices
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Immune system problems
  • Suicide
  • Pain especially headaches and stomach pain
  • Sexual problems
  • Lack of motivation
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Alcoholism
  • Suicidal thoughts

At Blue Ridge, I learned new things every day. I learned about my disease, how to cope with it, and how to live a clean lifestyle. I learned to forgive myself.

– Emma