Why Am I Depressed for No Reason?

Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know

Why Am I Depressed for No Reason?

Being sad is a normal reaction to difficult times in life. But usually, the sadness goes away with a little time.

Depression is different—it is a mood disorder that may cause severe symptoms that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Depression is more common among women than men, ly due to certain biological, hormonal, and social factors that are unique to women.

This brochure contains an overview of five things that everyone should know about depression in women.

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life.

Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.

You can’t just ‘snap out’ of depression

Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to “snap it,” “just be positive,” or “you can be happier if you just try harder.” But depression is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. The truth is that most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.

If you are a friend or family member of a woman with depression, you can offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. But never dismiss her feelings. Encourage her to talk to her health care provider, and remind her that, with time and treatment, she can feel better.

Most people with depression need treatment to feel better

If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your health care provider. This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions (for example, a psychologist or psychiatrist).

Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A health care provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.

Your health care provider will examine you and talk to you about treatment options and next steps.

Sadness is only a small part of depression. Some people with depression do not feel sadness at all. A person with depression also may experience many physical symptoms, such as aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems. Someone with depression also may have trouble with sleeping, waking up in the morning, and feeling tired.

If you have been experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease even with treatment

Talk to your health care provider about these symptoms. Be honest, clear, and concise—your provider needs to know how you feel.

Your health care provider may ask when your symptoms started, what time of day they happen, how long they last, how often they occur, if they seem to be getting worse or better, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to take the time to make some notes about your symptoms before you visit your provider.

Pregnancy, the postpartum period, perimenopause, and the menstrual cycle are all associated with dramatic physical and hormonal changes. Certain types of depression can occur at different stages of a woman’s life.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, refers to moodiness and irritability in the weeks before menstruation. It is quite common, and the symptoms are usually mild.

But there is a less common, more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

PMDD is a serious condition with disabling symptoms such as irritability, anger, depressed mood, sadness, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, bloating, breast tenderness, and joint or muscle pain.

Perinatal Depression

Being pregnant isn’t easy. Pregnant women commonly deal with morning sickness, weight gain, and mood swings. Caring for a newborn is challenging, too.

Many new moms experience the “baby blues”—a term used to describe mild mood changes and feelings of worry, unhappiness, and exhaustion that many women sometimes experience in the first two weeks after having a baby.

These feelings usually last a week or two and then go away as a new mom adjusts to having a newborn.

Perinatal depression is a mood disorder that can affect women during pregnancy and after childbirth, and is much more serious than the “baby blues.” The word “perinatal” refers to the time before and after the birth of a child.

Perinatal depression includes depression that begins during pregnancy (called prenatal depression) and depression that begins after the baby is born (called postpartum depression).

Mothers with perinatal depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks, including caring for themselves, their new child, or others.

If you think you have perinatal depression, you should talk to your health care provider or trained mental health care professional. If you see any signs of depression in a loved one during her pregnancy or after the child is born, encourage her to see a health care provider or visit a clinic.

To learn more about perinatal depression, see the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Perinatal Depression brochure.

Perimenopausal Depression

Perimenopause (the transition into menopause) is a normal phase in a woman’s life that can sometimes be challenging.

If you are going through perimenopause, you might be experiencing abnormal periods, problems sleeping, mood swings, and hot flashes. Although these symptoms are common, feeling depressed is not.

If you are struggling with irritability, anxiety, sadness, or loss of enjoyment at the time of the menopause transition, you may be experiencing perimenopausal depression.

Depression affects each woman differently

Not every woman who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some women experience only a few symptoms. Others have many. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the illness.

Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated. Depression is commonly treated with medication, psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”), or a combination of the two.

Antidepressants are medications commonly used to treat depression. People respond differently to antidepressants, and you may need to try different medicines to find the one that works best.

Researchers also are studying and developing other medications for depression, such as brexanolone for postpartum depression, and esketamine.

You can learn about recent developments on these and other medications at NIMH's Science News webpage under the topic “Treatments.”

There are many different types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. The particular approach a therapist uses depends on the condition being treated and the training and experience of the therapist. Therapists also may combine and adapt elements of different approaches.

Depression affects each individual differently. There is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best.

You can learn more about the different types of depression treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies, on the NIMH’s webpage about depression.

Visit the Food and Drug Administration website for the latest information on warnings, patient medication guides, and newly approved medications.

Therapists and patients work together, and finding a good match is important. The following tips can help you find the right therapist.

Ask about their areas of expertise. Therapists have different professional backgrounds and specialties. You want to find a therapist who has experience working with your specific condition.

Find out what kinds of treatments they use. Ask if those treatments are effective for dealing with your particular mental health problem or issue.

Find out how you’ll evaluate progress. Determine how long treatment is expected to last, and when you should expect to gain relief from symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Don’t be afraid to keep looking. Rapport and trust are essential. Discussions in therapy are deeply personal, and it’s important that you feel comfortable with the therapist you pick.

Researchers continue to study depression to improve the way this medical condition is diagnosed and treated. For example, NIMH researchers are currently working to understand how and why changes in reproductive hormones trigger mood disorders, including postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopausal depression.

NIMH scientists are conducting a large number of research studies with patients and healthy volunteers to better understand why some women are at higher risk than others, and how they can translate these findings into new treatments or new uses of existing treatments.

You can play a role in research by joining a clinical trial

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe.

Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

In addition to volunteer research opportunities for the patient groups listed above, research opportunities for healthy volunteers are also available. Healthy volunteers play a critical role in our studies.

For more information about clinical research and how to find clinical trials being conducted around the country, visit NIMH's clinical trials webpage.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, an online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs in your state. For additional resources, visit our Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.

If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from NIMH. Citation of NIMH as a source is appreciated. To learn more about using NIMH publications, please refer to these guidelines.

MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine) (En español)

ClinicalTrials.gov (En español)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health NIH Publication No. 20-MH-4779

Revised 2020

Источник: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-women

Why Do People Get Depressed?

Why Am I Depressed for No Reason?

Depression affects people of every age, economic situation, and race. Even though depression is common — especially in teens — some people get depressed but others don't. Why?

There's No One Reason for Depression

Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed. Some of it is biology — things our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones.

Some is environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face. And some is personality, how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves.

All these things can help shape whether or not a person becomes depressed.    

Genes

Research shows that depression runs in families. Some people inherit genes that contribute to depression. But not everyone who has a family member with depression will develop it too. And many people with no family history of depression still get depressed. So genes are one factor, but they aren't the only reason for depression.

Brain Chemistry

Chemicals called neurotransmitters (pronounced: nur-oh-TRANZ-mit-urs) help send messages between nerve cells in the brain. Some neurotransmitters regulate mood. When a person is depressed, these neurotransmitters might be in low supply or not effective enough.

Genes and brain chemistry can be connected: Having the genes for depression may make a person more ly to have the neurotransmitter problem that is part of depression.

Stress, Health, and Hormones

Things stress, using alcohol or drugs, and hormone changes also affect the brain's delicate chemistry and mood.

Some health conditions may cause depression- symptoms. For example, hypothyroidism is known to cause a depressed mood in some people. Mono can drain a person's energy. When health conditions are diagnosed and treated by a doctor, the depression- symptoms usually disappear.

Getting enough sleep and regular exercise often has a positive effect on neurotransmitter activity and mood.

Daylight and Seasons

Daylight affects how the brain produces melatonin and serotonin. These neurotransmitters help regulate a person's sleep–wake cycles, energy, and mood. When there is less daylight, the brain produces more melatonin. When there is more daylight, the brain makes more serotonin.

Shorter days and longer hours of darkness in fall and winter may lead the body to have more melatonin and less serotonin. This imbalance is what creates the conditions for depression in some people — a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Exposure to light can help improve mood for people affected by SAD.

Life Events

The death of a family member, friend, or pet sometimes goes beyond normal grief and leads to depression. Other difficult life events — such as when parents divorce, separate, or remarry — can trigger depression.

Whether or not difficult life situations lead to depression can depend a lot on how well a person is able to cope, stay positive, and receive support.

Family and Social Environment

For some people, a negative, stressful, or unhappy family atmosphere can lead to depression. Other high-stress living situations — such as poverty, homelessness, or violence — can contribute, too. Dealing with bullying, harassment, or peer pressure leaves some people feeling isolated, victimized, or insecure.

Situations these don't necessarily lead to depression, but facing them without relief or support can make it easier to become depressed.

Reacting to Life Situations

Life is full of ups and downs. Stress, hassles, and setbacks happen (but hopefully not too often). How we react to life's struggles matters a lot. A person's outlook can contribute to depression — or it can help guard against it.

Research shows that a positive outlook acts as a protection against depression, even for people who have the genes, brain chemistry, or life situations that put them at risk for developing it. The opposite is also true: People who tend to think more negatively may be more at risk for developing depression.

We can't control our genes, brain chemistry, or some of the other things that contribute to depression. But we do have control over how we see situations and how we cope.

Making an effort to think positively — believing there's a way around any problem — helps ward off depression. So does developing coping skills and a support system of positive relationships. These things help build resilience (the quality that helps people bounce back and do well, even in difficult situations).

Here are three ways to build resilience:

  1. Try thinking of change as a challenging and normal part of life. When a problem crops up, take action to solve it.
  2. Remind yourself that setbacks and problems are temporary and solvable. Nothing lasts forever.
  3. Build a support system. Ask friends and family for help (or just a shoulder to cry on) when you need it. Offer to help when they need it. This kind of give and take creates strong relationships that help people weather life's storms.

Being positive and resilient isn't a magic shield that automatically protects us from depression. But these qualities can help offset the other factors that might lead to trouble.

Источник: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/why-depressed.html

10 Scientific Reasons You’re Feeling Depressed

Why Am I Depressed for No Reason?

  • Research suggests that differences in the way our brains process a chemical called galanin may make some of us less resilient.
  • Perimenopause as well as the thyroid gland can both cause hormonal issues that influence mood.
  • Non-chemical causes of depressions include childhood trauma and the cumulative effect of negative ruminations.

Source: Aleshyn_Andrei/Shuttersock

Are you waking up most days just feeling “blah?» Perhaps you don’t want to do anything except lie a couch potato and watch TV—and even that is unsatisfying.

You not only feel low energy but kind of miserable. Perhaps you’re mad at yourself for not getting the house cleaned, not getting your work done, or not getting those papers filed. Perhaps you’re feeling a bit lonely, left out by friends, or unsupported by family. You may dwell on mounting bills or the fact that you’re 10 or 20 pounds overweight.

You may feel aches and pains in your neck or back. Or you may just feel grouchy and want to remain undisturbed by life’s demands and conversational opportunities. You may compare yourself unfavorably to your friend, roommate, cousin, or neighbor, who always seems to be on time, well-groomed, and on track to meet her goals.

We all have those “blah” days—but why do they happen, and what can we do about them? Below are 10 scientific reasons why you may be feeling sorts.

Brain Chemicals

Some of us have brains that are more sensitive to the effects of stress. Researchers are just beginning to uncover the biochemistry behind this differential.

The most common forms of antidepressants target the neurotransmitters serotoninand norepinephrine because some research concludes that low levels of these chemical motivators are part of what makes us depressed.

However, only some people respond well to the most common forms of antidepressants, while others try drug after drug with no substantial mood improvement.

A recent research study, published earlier this year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may reveal the reason why. The research suggests that differences in the way our brains process a chemical called galanin may make some of us less resilient and able to bounce back after difficult experiences.

The Weather

Less sunshine during the winter months can give us the blues, and this effect is more pronounced for some people than others. Researchers Keller and colleagues studied hundreds of people and found that during the spring, moods improved; participants also reported more outdoor activities.

We may also be more cognitively flexible and able to think creatively about solving our problems in the spring, compared to winter. A subgroup of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition in which the winter blues turn into full-blown depression along with associated changes in sleep, appetite, and motivation. Sufferers are more ly to be women.

Exposure to outdoor sunlight also provides us with vitamin D, a substance with clear links to depressed mood.

Vitamin D

Most people in the US have insufficient or deficient levels of Vitamin D. The reasons are not clear, but could be related to nutrition and insufficient sun exposure. People with dark skin are more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency, due to a decreased ability to process vitamin D from sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency has been statistically linked to depression.

In a large Dutch study by Hoogendijk and colleagues (2008) of over 1,200 persons aged 65 and older, levels of vitamin D were 14 percent lower in persons with minor or major depressive disorder when compared to those not showing depressed mood.

Hormones

Hormones are substances produced by the endocrine glands that influence many bodily functions, including growth and development, mood, sexual function, and metabolism. Levels of certain hormones, such as those produced by the thyroid gland, can be factors in depression.

In addition, some symptoms of depression are associated with thyroid conditions. Hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and may create vulnerability to sad or depressed moods in the premenstrual period, as well as during perimenopause, and menopause.

There are individual differences in how much our moods are vulnerable to the effects of hormones. If you are more vulnerable, you may want to consult a physician to see if medications are needed to help regulate your hormones.

You could also try alternative medicine treatments, such as acupuncture, to reduce hormone-related mood imbalance.

Expectations

Our moods are not only a function of what happens to us, but also of how we view the events in our lives and the meanings we assign to them. There are stages in most of our lives in which we seem to be working hard and doing all the right things, but don’t see many external rewards coming our way.

We may not be paid what we feel we are worth or be able to afford as nice a house, car, or vacation as our friends. We may struggle to find the right partner, while our friends or siblings seem to have no problem finding love. We may have to work longer and harder than our friends to get the same grade on a test or earn a living. We may experience a difficult breakup or loss.

Life naturally isn’t fair; periods of struggle, suffering, and loss are inevitable. If we expect fair or special treatment all the time or expect things never to change, we are bound to be disappointed. So if you’re feeling sad because of recent events, remind yourself that hard times are part of life and will pass.

You can also try to deliberately broaden your view and focus on the good parts of your life or the experiences you are proud of.

Childhood Adverse Events

Stressful life events can wear down our physical and mental resources, making us more vulnerable to both depression and physical illnesses. A history of childhood trauma, including abuse, poverty, or loss of a parent, can reset our developing brains to be less cognitively flexible.

It seems that our brains naturally go into a “fight, flight, freeze” response to stress or a threat, and we often have to use our prefrontal cortex or executive center to get this state.

Prolonged stress in childhood can make our brains less interconnected and resilient; our brains can more easily get “stuck” in negative thinking patterns or stressed out states, resulting in us being less able to change tracks.

  • What Is Depression?
  • Find a therapist to overcome depression

Stresses Piling Up

As Robert Sapolsky argues in his book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, our human stress response systems were designed to respond to acute, time-limited stressors that normally require a physical response.

When our ancestors had chased off that marauding tiger, they could relax and eat. The stressors in today’s world are much more chronic and less able to be controlled by taking action, and we often don’t get the break afterward to recover and regroup.

Financial stress, loneliness, constant fighting with loved ones, being bullied, long commutes, academic or job demands, or unemployment can drag on, triggering a cascade of effects across many areas of our lives.

When stresses hit us one after the other without time for recovery, they can leave us depleted and despondent, with insufficient pep to bounce back.

Negative Ruminations

You may be feeling bad because you’re sitting around brooding about life’s disappointments or trying to find a reason why things aren’t going your way.

Research studies by University of Michigan psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema and colleagues show that sitting around thinking about your negative mood or negative events just makes everything worse.

One negative thought leads to another, and then another—until you get buried in a mountain of problems and negative predictions. This can easily lead to a loss of perspective and motivation, one that can interfere with actually taking action aimed at addressing the problem.

If you find yourself in a negative thinking cycle, get up immediately and do something else pleasant or neutral to engage your mind. This can be as simple as emptying the dishwasher, rearranging your closet, going for a walk, talking to a friend, or getting on with a work project.

Your Inner Critic

Do you have a critical inner voice constantly judging and criticizing everything you do, especially when things don’t go your way? The inner critic compounds the effect of anything negative in your life by blaming you for it.

It keeps drawing your attention to the negative and spoils your pleasure when something positive happens by telling you that ”it won’t last” or “you don’t deserve it.» This negative dialogue takes you the moment and makes you feel depressed.

Negative thinking can be a symptom of depression and may be a causal factor in interaction with negative life events.

The first step to combat an inner critic is to become aware of what it’s saying; the second step is to externalize it. You could give your critic a name and imagine what it looks —picturing it as a grumpy old crone, for instance, or a vicious barking dog.

Then begin talking back to it, and telling it to back off. The inner critic generally has a negatively biased perspective and overestimates your responsibility for—and control over—outcomes in your life. It also often has perfectionistic expectations.

Tell it to give you a break for a change!

Loneliness

Our human brains are wired to be part of a social group, and we experience loneliness as chronically stressful and depressing. Unfortunately, some of us have toxic or neglectful families that don’t provide support or presence when we need it.

Similarly, we may feel that our friends are moving on—finding romantic relationships or having kids, for instance—and leaving us behind. Research using fMRI brain scans shows that even minor social rejection lights up the same areas of our brains as physical pain.

Feeling left out, rejected, or excluded makes us sad; it can also lead to rumination about our faults, further darkening our moods. We become scared of further rejection and isolate ourselves, perpetuating the negative cycle.

While there may not be an immediate cure for loneliness, it helps to get out in the world and pursue your natural interests, which can lead to expanding your social network. Staying in touch with old friends or family and deliberately seeking opportunities to connect may help as well.

Final Thoughts

The reasons for a down mood are often multifaceted and can be difficult to determine. If you feel depressed for two weeks or more, seek a medical consult to rule out or treat underlying biological factors.

Consider consulting a mental health professional for help in managing stress and expectations, negotiating life changes, or dealing with the emotional aftereffects of past traumas and dysfunctional families.

If you can’t afford therapy, antidepressants may still help to change the underlying biology. Exercising outdoors can provide both sunlight and mood elevation.

Develop a toolkit of stress-reducing activities, such as regular exercise, yoga or meditation, watching funny movies, playing team sports, doing something creative or novel, and hanging out with and/or confiding in understanding friends.

To find a therapist, please visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.

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Источник: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201411/10-scientific-reasons-you-re-feeling-depressed

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