At present, there is no known single cause of depression; but there are a number of factors which are usually present in sufferers of the condition. It is known that clinical depression tends to run in families. Though some take this as a suggestion of the presence of hereditary element, there is significant evidence to suggest that this occurs as a result of 'mirrored behaviour'.
Living with a depressive, for example, has been known to increase one's likelihood of suffering with the condition. Perhaps the best known contributory factors to depression are painful life experiences that one has failed to 'deal with', process, or accept.
These experiences can range from childhood sexual abuse or neglect to schoolyard bullying to redundancy or violent attack. In effect, anything which produces an extreme emotional reaction that the victim may wish to deflect, or repress, can contribute to the development of clinical depression. Clinical depression can be caused by various medical complaints, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's and organic brain damage, and can be a side-effect of using a number of prescription medications, such as the contraceptive pill and Depo Provera injection.
There is some evidence to suggest that a diet rich in fatty acids and low in vitamins and nutrients is linked to depression; and improvements in diet and an increase in exercise are often recommended. Use of alcohol and drugs – which may be as a result of depression – is also known to increase feelings of depression and exacerbate symptoms of the condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognized form of the condition which is brought on by a lack of natural daylight, and is most common in the Winter months when daylight hours are at their shortest.
Postpartum (or post-natal) depression is another form of clinical depression; this one affecting some women in the months after giving birth to a new baby. A low mood or feelings of numbness or exhaustion during these months is considered quite normal, but postpartum depression is debilitating and treated as a serious condition by medical professionals.
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