Stress is a concept that we’re all familiar with, and a reality we’ve all adapted to, more or less.
We get stressed routinely – you had a hard day at work, but there’s a laundry list of to-do’s waiting at home for you; your commute to school took longer than anticipated and so you’re late to class; your gas bill was higher than last month and you have to rearrange your finances to cover the difference.
All these situations in and of themselves are stressful, but you might not expect them to result in symptoms of depression. However, when stress continues to accumulate, or a highly stressful event occurs, what used to be a small stressor can become a big factor in the development of depression.
Depression and stress – the link
We often connect stress and anxiety together in our minds, but depression and stress have just as strong a link. Most often, one significant stressful event will occur in someone’s life, possibly leading to symptoms of depression as a result, predisposing this individual to be more sensitive to stressful events in the future. In other words, one’s resilience against stress is weakened and even mildly stressful events will still significantly impact one’s mental health.
It’s important to note that when people experience stressful situations, everyone involved in that situation will respond differently to it. Some might be very impacted and experience a lot of mental unrest; others will bounce back relatively quickly, simply because their brain processes stress in a different way.
For this reason, a comprehensive list of depression stressors isn’t entirely possible, but knowing some of the more common stressors can help you identify potential triggers.
Examples of stressors include:
- Loss of a loved one – Grief is one of the most common causes of depression, making it very important to seek out the right help for processing any grief appropriately;
- Loss of a job – Feeling like your life plan suddenly isn’t going the way you want can lead to feelings of failure, which can cause the experience of depression symptoms;
- Moving – Starting over in a new place can be exciting, but can also elicit less positive feelings as time goes on; working hard to get established in your new location – like attending community events, connecting with a local church or volunteering at an animal shelter or library – can help you overcome isolated feelings and make room for greater connection;
- Marital changes – Whether the change is having a baby or getting a divorce, any change in one’s marriage can be overwhelming; communicating with your partner during this time is key, but also consider the benefits of marriage counseling to help the two of you manage situations you cannot handle on your own;
- Experience of abuse – Be it verbal, physical, sexual or emotional, anyone suffering from abuse is more at risk for developing depression; seeking a therapist’s aid is best when handling the many emotions that come into play during these situations;
- Financial difficulties – Struggling with finances is not only anxiety-inducing, it can also feel humiliating; you may begin to withdraw from people, or not engage in previously enjoyed events, which fosters an environment of isolation; sometimes financial stress takes time to come back from, but managing any symptoms of depression is an important first step.
This list is not all-inclusive but may give you an idea of where unexpected depression symptoms may be rooted.
Stress isn’t the only cause
Stressful events aren’t the only cause of depression, however. Other factors may also play a role in whether or not someone develops depression after a stressful event.
For several people, depression is a result of genetics. Although professionals are unsure of the exact way depression is passed down from one generation to the next, it does appear that a family history of depression can lead to future generations suffering from the condition. If you have family members who have suffered from depression, genetics may play a role in why you’re experiencing these symptoms.
There are certain prescription medications with depression labeled as a side effect. Some evidence shows that taking beta-blockers, benzodiazepines and barbiturates may increase the risk of someone developing depression, particularly in older individuals. Additionally, anticholinergics, opioids and corticosteroids have been linked to mania, which is associated with bipolar disorders.
When a person experiences the same type of pain for months on end, it is referred to as “chronic.” This pain not only causes immense discomfort, it can also lead to difficulty sleeping, lack of physical exercise and even a withdrawal from family and friends. As a result, it can leave people feeling depressed and isolated. Joining a support group and undergoing psychotherapy can help manage depression symptoms, not to mention the benefits of practicing mindfulness for chronic pain.
Examples of chronic illnesses include multiple sclerosis, lupus, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes. All these sicknesses last for a long time, and for the most part, cannot be cured entirely. As a result, people suffering from these conditions may experience strong feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Research suggests that by treating a person’s depression, the underlying chronic illness may also see some improvement.
Seek help for chronic stress and depression
To help you manage any symptoms of depression you may be experiencing, contact High Focus Centers to get in touch with a therapist today. Call our offices at 800-877-3628 or contact us online to learn more.