Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Surprising Causes of Depression

Some surprising Causes of Depression

Genetic finger-pointing is usually a surefire way to determine the origins of depression. But not everything can be blamed on mom and dad. Read on to find out if the medicine you take, your personality or even happy hour is playing.

No Wonder He's Always Singing


Popeye the sailorman clearly knows how to keep his mental health shipshape. If you turn your nose up at vegetables, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that you may be more prone to depression due to folic acid and B-12 deficiencies. Both vitamins play a role in producing neurotransmitters necessary for regulating mood. To keep that spring in your step, pair dark, leafy greens rich in folic acid, such as spinach or broccoli, with shellfish or fish, which contain high amounts of B-12. 

Birth Control


A study conducted by Australia's Monash University found that women taking birth control pills are almost twice as likely to be depressed as those who are not on the pill. Progestin, a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone used in the combination pill, has been shown to lower the body's serotonin levels, and progestin-only contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera injections, may worsen depressive symptoms.

Drink Up?


There have been numerous studies linking alcohol abuse and depression in the past, but researchers at University of North Carolina recently found that abstinence after prolonged drinking may lead to depression. The study found that moderate social drinkers may experience depression-like behavior after 14 days without alcohol due to the brain's inability to produce mood-regulating neurons.

Baby Blues


Brook Shields's acknowledgment of her use of therapy and drugs to combat postpartum depression sparked a public discussion about this common problem. Since then, research from the National Institute of Health has shown that 50 percent of new mothers experience feelings of restlessness and depression in the first two weeks after childbirth due to a combination of hormone fluctuations and stress.

The Power of Positive Thinking


Research has shown that people who exhibit certain personality traits, including aggression, excess worry and low self esteem are likely to have repeated bouts with depression. An American Journal of Psychiatry study conducted by Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, also determined that people who exhibit characteristics of neuroticism, including anxiety and instability, are more likely to develop major depression than their extroversive counterparts.

Not Just Roid Rage


Prolonged use of anabolic steroids not only results in manic outbursts known as "roid rage," but can also exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and lead to mood swings, insomnia and a low sex drive. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that the most dangerous ramification of extended steroid use is depression, which can often lead to suicide attempts. Similarly, prednisone, a steroid given to leukemia and lymphoma patients to inhibit inflammation, can also cause depression.

Depression in a Bottle


Research documenting the effects of Accutane by The University of Texas has shown that the drug belongs to a group of chemicals called retinoids, which affect the nervous system and are capable of influencing depression-related behavior. Beyond the now-infamous acne medication, beta-blockers used to control hypertension, sleeping pills and, in some cases, cold medicine can also cause or aggravate depressive symptoms.

Double-edged Sword

While the stress of living with a chronic illness may result in patient depression, biological effects incurred from diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and hypothyroidism, result in a higher risk for depression. Research from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation has shown that at least 40 percent of patients experience clinical depression and that later stage depression may be due to a disease-related chemical imbalance.


Beyond struggling in the classroom and at work, children and adults combating ADD or ADHD may also experience depression. Diagnosing adults with ADHD proves especially difficult because symptoms of ADHD often mimic depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, adults often first seek help for depression before discovering that they actually have ADHD.

1 comment:

  1. Found this link and thought it was worth posting. Doing it as a comment instead of a whole new post though. (For now)

    New Study Shows Antidepressant Medication Fails to Help Most Depressed Patients