May 23, 2024

How Does Depression Start ?

Depression is a medical condition that can involve many symptoms and treatments, and can affect many different types of people.  And although there are many risk factors and warning signs of this illness, pinpointing how and why it begins in certain individuals can be a bit of a challenge.  However, in understanding how and why symptoms begin, it’s entirely possible to treat symptoms before they worsen or turn into full-blown depression.

Causes of depression vary greatly on an individual level.  For example, an event or circumstance might seem inconsequential to one person, but could be the source of depression in another.

It is not completely understood why some individuals experience depression and others do not; though it could be due to many factors, including genetics.  Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of depression are much more likely to develop it themselves.

For those who are genetically predisposed to depression, the following factors may influence the onset of symptoms:

A traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one
A hormonal imbalance, especially in cases of postpartum and adolescent depression
Low self-esteem
Abuse, including physical, sexual and psychological
Drug and alcohol use
Illness, such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s
Lifestyle changes, such as a move, starting a new job, marriage or a divorce

Depression doesn’t happen overnight.  Typically, symptoms begin slowly, then intensify and occur with increased regularity.  Recognizing early symptoms of depression is essential in treating the condition: early recognition and treatment can prevent serious complications, such as worsening of symptoms and increased risk of suicide or self-harm.

Early warning signs of depression include the following:

Loss of interest in daily activities
The tendency to spend more time alone than with friends or family
Bouts of sadness
Unexplained physical aches and pains
Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleeping more than usual
Engaging in reckless behavior, such as drug use or drunk driving
Feelings of hopelessness
Negative thoughts, attitudes and behaviors
Thoughts of suicide

In the beginning stages of depression, very few symptoms may be present.  In fact, some individuals only experience one or two symptoms at the onset of depression, and often think there is no cause for alarm.  However, as depression progresses, new symptoms can arise and old symptoms begin to occur more frequently.

Therefore, seeking treatment as soon as one or more symptoms present themselves can greatly reduce the risk of full-blown depression and its complications.


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