NEW YORK – While the exact cause of depression isn’t known, a number of things can be associated with its development. Generally, depression does not result from a single event, here is some surprising causes of depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, and it afflicts about 5 percent of Americans.
But for less than 1 percent of those people, this form of depression strikes in the summer.
Smoking has long been linked with depression, though it’s a chicken-or-egg scenario: People who are depression-prone may be more likely to take up the habit.
However, nicotine is known to affect neurotransmitter activity in the brain, resulting in higher levels of dopamine and serotonin (which is also the mechanism of action for antidepressant drugs).
When the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, it’s known as hypothyroidism, and depression is one of its symptoms.
Poor Sleep Habits
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it could also increase the risk of depression.
A 2007 study found that when healthy participants were deprived of sleep, they had greater brain activity after viewing upsetting images than their well-rested counterparts, which is similar to the reaction that depressed patients have, noted one of the study authors.
Spending too much time in chat rooms and on social-networking sites? A number of studies now suggest that this can be associated with depression, particularly in teens and preteens.
Internet addicts may struggle with real-life human interaction and a lack of companionship, and they may have an unrealistic view of the world. Some experts even call it “Facebook depression.”
End Of A TV Show Or Movie
When something important comes to an end, like a TV show, movie, or a big home renovation, it can trigger depression in some people.
In 2009, some “Avatar” fans reported feeling depressed and even suicidal because the movie’s fictional world wasn’t real. There was a similar reaction to the final installments of the Harry Potter movies.
Where You Live
You can endlessly debate whether city or country life is better. But research has found that people living in urban settings do have a 39 percent higher risk of mood disorders than those in rural regions.
Too Many Choices
The sheer number of options available — whether it’s face cream, breakfast cereal or appliances — can be overwhelming. That’s not a problem for shoppers who pick the first thing that meets their needs, according to some psychologists. However, some people respond to choice overload by maximizing, or exhaustively reviewing their options in the search for the very best item. Research suggests that this coping style is linked to perfectionism and depression.
Lack Of Fish In The Diet
Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and vegetable oils, may be associated with a greater risk of depression.
A 2004 Finnish study found an association between eating less fish and depression in women, but not in men.
Poor Sibling Relationships
Although unhappy relationships with anyone can cause depression, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that men who didn’t get along with their siblings before age 20 were more likely to be depressed later in life than those who did.
Although it’s not clear what’s so significant about sibling relationships (the same wasn’t true for relationships with parents), researchers suggest that they could help children develop the ability to relate with peers and socialize.
Birth Control Pills
Like any medication, the pill can have side effects. Oral contraceptives contain a synthetic version of progesterone, which studies suggest can lead to depression in some women.
“The reason is still unknown,” says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University, in New York.