There has been a lot of research into mental illness because it is one of the growing ailments that is plaguing our country every day. More than 16.1 million American adults experience depression, with the numbers on the rise for America's youth.
"Depression is most common among those with least access to any health care, including mental health professionals. This includes young people and those with lower levels of income and education," noted Renee Goodwin, PhD, of the Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health.
"Despite this trend, recent data suggest that treatment for depression has not increased, and a growing number of Americans, especially socioeconomically vulnerable individuals and young persons, are suffering from untreated depression. Depression that goes untreated is the strongest risk factor for suicide behavior and recent studies show that suicide attempts have increased in recent years, especially among young women," she concluded.
Feelings of sadness, loneliness and to its extreme, suicidal thoughts can take over, causing someone to isolate themselves, and no longer participate in activities they used to enjoy.
Over the last few decades we have heard that depression was caused by a "chemical imbalance" in the brain. As it turns out, this assessment is not exactly correct.
Studies have noted differences in some people's brain that can effect their susceptibility to the illness. Some research has indicated that a smaller hippocampus, which is responsible for storing memories and producing serotonin, was more present in people with a history of depression than those who had never been depressed.
One thing is for certain, depression is a complex issue and has many contributing factors.
Your past can have a lot to do with how depression affects your life. Past physical, sexual and emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.
Certain medications have side effects that can cause or magnify depression symptoms. Some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers or reserpine, can increase your risk of depression.
Other medications such as corticosteriods, opiodes such as codeine or morphine, and anticholinergics that are taken to relieve stomach cramping have been found to cause mania, which is associated with bipolar disorder.
Ongoing conflict and disputes with family members or friends can bring about depression in some people.
4. Death or loss
Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, while may be natural feelings, can spark depression risk for some.
Each person is unique in the way the cope with feelings of loss, so not everyone is prone to depression after experiencing this type of grief.