There are a number of well-known factors that trigger depression. Accidents, permanent injury, loss of loved one, grief, fatal medical illness, relationship fall-out or a divorce, unemployment and financial troubles are often considered as main culprits. However there can be other often neglected factors contributing to your depression that you often are unmindful of. Some little-known causes of depression are listed below.
1. Summer weather
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most often associated with gloomy winter months and afflicts about 5% of people in America. But little is know that in some individuals, this type of seasonal depression can even be triggered in summer weather. Depression arises during warm weather when the body demonstrates a delayed adjustment to new season. Instead of waking up rejuvenated enjoying dawn, the body finds it hard to cope up with changed temperatures. This could be caused due to imbalances in brain chemistry and the hormone melatonin.
It is often a subject of contention that smoking causes depression in the first place or depression makes the person take up such habits to combat depression. It is actually a chicken-or-egg kind of scenario and becomes a vicious cycle for the patient suffering. Nicotine in cigarette significantly affects neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Consequently, higher levels of dopamine and serotonin are produced that act as natural antidepressant drugs. This is the reason it becomes addictive and it gets difficult to give up the habit altogether. Smoking cessation is therefore associated with mood swings that come as withdrawal symptoms. Staying smoke-free could help restore imbalanced brain chemical levels.
3. Thyroid disease
Thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland situated in the neck is a major component of endocrine system in our body. Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone is hugely responsible for normal growth and development of the body and the metabolic rate. It also acts as a neurotransmitter and is known to regulate serotonin levels. Sensitivity to cold, explained fatigue, constipation, weight gain and depression are common symptoms of Thyroid disorder. But since Thyroid disease is tricky to diagnose because of constant fluctuations in hormone levels and overlapping symptoms with a number of other medical conditions, it often goes unnoticed whether depression really is caused by thyroid gland malfunction.
4. Poor sleep habits
It is well known that sleep deprivation leads to cranky behavior and general irritable demeanor but extended period of poor sleep may also cause chronic depression. If your body is not well rested, it will not be able to replenish brain cells and eventually the brain stops functioning properly. There was a study conducted wherein otherwise healthy individuals deprived of sleep were found to exhibit greater brain activity upon viewing unsightly images as opposed to well-rested counterparts.
5. Facebook overload
It is not very clear whether spending excessive time on internet caused depression in the first place or depressed people are more likely to spend more time in the virtual world. Addiction to chat rooms, social networking sites and other stuff on internet can be devastating for one’s brain health in the long-run. Internet addicts often find it hard to adjust with real-life situations. Their real relationships are jeopardized because they have unrealistic expectations from the real world and struggle with real-life interactions. They constantly experience a feeling of void and become more and more lonesome. Experts are calling this phenomenon world over as “ Facebook depression”. The strange thing about depression caused by overuse of internet is that people do not even realize they are depressed until it is already too late.
6. End of a TV show or movie
As strange it may sound but it is true that an end of a TV show or a movie can trigger depression like symptoms in some individuals. The reason is simple. People get so involved with their favorite TV show or a movie series that it becomes a part of their life. They already start feeling depressed as the show or movie progresses towards the final closure. When it ends altogether, people experience a similar feeling that of a break-up and their world falls apart. These people are normally more sensitive and attach greater emotional value to everything. This form of depression is also more common in people who exhibit escapism. They are easily swept off by fantasies and getting back to reality is quite depressing for them.
7. Where you live
It is often debated that whether people living in metros and cities are exposed to higher stress levels than those living in suburbs and rural areas. As per the studies, it is reported that people residing in busy cities have 39% higher risk of mood disorders and other stress related psychological disorders. Because of chaos and hub-bub of the city life and lack of peace, the brain activity is also greater thereby increasing the risk of psychotic disorders. Other than that, even the topography of the place where you reside determines your state of mental health. It is found that people who stay near a sea or a railway track are more prone to depression. Also people living on higher altitudes are known to have greater suicidal tendencies. People residing too near a graveyard were also more likely to be depressed while those who lived amidst orchids and flower gardens were found to be uplifting.
8. Too many choices
With mass production and too many brands selling similar products, it becomes gruesome to decide which one to go for. The sheer number of options available is overwhelming. This does not adversely affect people who are carefree and happy-go-lucky types. But it is certainly devastating for people who are perfectionists and look into boundless niceties before making a single decision. These people overload their brains by reviewing the pros and cons of all possible options available.
9. Lack of fish in the diet
Vegan people or non-vegetarian people not consuming enough fish are at more risk of developing depression. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in sea food are known to regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin which are body’s natural antidepressants and mood up-lifters.
10. Some medications
A number of medications can cause depression as a side effect. Anxiety and insomnia drugs, medicines prescribed to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, pills recommended for menopausal symptoms, medicine to treat acne and all oral contraceptives are known to have several side-effects and depression is one of them.