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10 Causes of Depression

10 Causes of Depression

There are causes and risk factors commonly associated with depression, but there are also a number of unusual triggers that can cause depression. These triggers can come as a surprise and mean that some people suffering from depression don’t realize it. Understanding that you may be suffering from depression is the most important step toward understanding your condition and finding proactive ways to move forward.

Although depression is recognized in Canada in terms of qualifying for long-term disability benefits, individuals with depression who cannot continue work or have their ability to work affected may be disappointed when attempting to claim disability insurance benefits. Disability insurance companies often deny legitimate disability insurance claims for depression, leaving depressed people without that option for financial support.

If you are in this position, speak to our Hamilton Long-Term Disability Lawyers. Rather than go through an appeals process with the same disability insurance company who has already denied your disability insurance benefits, speak to our experienced disability lawyers who understand the Ontario disability law and have a track record of successfully recovering denied disability benefits for our clients.

What is depression?

The DSM-5, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, is the standard reference work for mental health professionals in the United States. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and classification system for mental disorders. The DSM-5 is used by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals to diagnose and treat mental disorders. It is also used by insurance companies to determine coverage for mental health services. The DSM-5 is organized into five major sections: I. Introduction; II. Diagnostic Criteria and Codes; III. Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention; IV. Research Domain Criteria; and V. Appendixes. The DSM-5 is continuously revised and updated to reflect new scientific discoveries about mental disorders.

According to the DSM-5, major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mental disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest, accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. MDD can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to function in day-to-day life, and it is one of the most common mental disorders. While the exact cause of MDD is not known, it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for MDD typically includes medication and/or therapy.

The Different Types of Depressive Disorders

As noted, the DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and it contains a number of changes from the previous edition. One significant change is the inclusion of specific types of depression, which were not previously recognized. The DSM-5 now recognizes four different types of depression:

Major depressive disorder – Major depressive disorder is characterized by a loss of interest in activities, feelings of sadness or emptiness, and changes in sleep or appetite.

Persistent depressive disorder – Persistent depressive disorder is a less severe form of depression that lasts for at least two years.

Bipolar disorder – is characterized by periods of mania or hypomania, alternating with periods of depression.

Seasonal affective disorder – is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.

Each type of depression has its own symptoms and treatment options. If you think you may be suffering from depression, it is important to speak to a mental health professional who can diagnose and treat your condition.

Risk factors for depression 

Genetics – A person’s risk for developing depression may be increased if one or more close relatives have the condition. This suggests that genes play a role in causing depression, but it’s likely that many different genes are involved rather than just one gene by itself. Genes interact with various environmental and psychological factors to influence whether someone will develop depression. 

Environmental Factors – Difficult life circumstances such as financial problems, the death of a loved one or long-term chronic stress can lead to the development of depressive symptoms. People who have experienced significant trauma or abuse are also at greater risk for developing depression later in life. 

Brain Structure and Chemicals – Imaging studies have shown that the brains of people with major depressive disorder look different than those without the disorder and don’t function as well. Brain chemicals also play a role; neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine help regulate mood, act as chemical messengers between brain cells, and play an important role in regulating moods. An imbalance in these chemicals is thought to contribute to the development of depressive symptoms.

Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions often co-occur with depression, such as thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, cancer and chronic pain. In some cases, treating the medical condition may help relieve some depressive symptoms, although not always all symptoms will resolve even with successful treatment of the underlying condition. 

10 Causes of Depression 

Although the exact mechanism of what causes depression in certain people is unclear, we know that depression is brought on by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Triggers of depression are normally things like job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one, something that most would consider a tragedy or event that would result in sadness. There are also events and situations that you might not expect to trigger depression that could cause some people, including yourself, to experience depression:

1. Being denied disability insurance benefits

It’s not uncommon for people with depression to be denied disability insurance benefits. Without the guidance of an experienced disability lawyer, it can be easy to make a mistake when applying for disability insurance benefits, allowing disability insurance companies to deny your claim. Sadly, this denial, in turn, can be another trigger for your depression. It can relate to the stress of the entire situation, be perceived as an emotional rejection, or a sign that your mental illness is not being taken seriously.

2. Losing a pet

For some people, pets are like family members. They provide companionship, love, and support, and can be a source of great comfort. Losing a pet can be an extremely difficult experience and can trigger depression in even the most stable of individuals. Although individuals who do not have pets may find this experience difficult to understand, the emotional loss and resulting depression are comparable to actually losing a human family member or friend.

3. Watching the last episode of a favorite TV show or movie

TV shows and movies can be a source of comfort, laughter, and happiness, often providing a much-needed escape from the stresses of everyday life. When a favorite TV show or movie ends, it can trigger depression in some people because they no longer have that source of entertainment or distraction. Since TV shoes and movies allow people to escape reality for a short period of time, the end of the TV show or movie forces these people to face the depressing reality that they were trying to escape.

4. Having too many choices

In today’s society, there are more choices than ever before. With so many options available, it can be difficult to make a decision and even harder to stick with that decision. Whether it is something as trivial as what to order from a restaurant menu or more significant choices like what career to pursue, having too many choices can paralyze and lead to depression. The feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices available is often referred to as the “paradox of choice” and can result in anxiety, indecision, and depression. Individuals suffering from depression often have difficulty making decisions, leading to more depression. This can trigger depression because people often second-guess themselves, wondering if they made the right choice.

5. Eating an unbalanced diet

Eating an unbalanced diet can trigger depression. An unhealthy diet can lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients, which can have a negative impact on mood. For example, a lack of omega-three fatty acids has been linked to depression, and a lack of vitamin B12 has been linked to depression and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet can also lead to weight gain, which can lead to depression. Being overweight or obese can cause people to suffer from low self-esteem, which is a common symptom of depression. A healthy diet is important not only for physical but also for mental health. It’s tempting to turn to comfort food, but eating an unbalanced diet will only make you feel worse in the long run.

6. Changes in the weather

For some people, changes in the weather can trigger depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. The lack of sunlight can lead to a decrease in the production of serotonin, which is a brain chemical that affects mood. SAD is more common in countries located further from the equator but can occur anywhere. Aside from SAD, depression can be triggered in some individuals when the weather changes from hot to cold or when there is a sudden change in the amount of daylight.

7. Getting a promotion at work

It probably makes sense that losing work is a common trigger of depression, but getting a promotion at work can also trigger depression in some people. Although promotion is generally considered to be a good thing, it can lead to increased stress and anxiety. The added responsibility of the new position can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of inadequacy. The fear of failure can also be paralyzing and lead to depression. For some people, the added pressure of promotion is too much to handle, leading to a decline in mental health.

8. Having too little or too much sleep

Sleep is important for physical and mental health. Getting too little or too much sleep can trigger depression. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. However, many people do not get enough sleep. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression, and it can be caused by depression or lead to depression. On the other hand, oversleeping can also be a symptom of depression. Oversleeping, also known as hypersomnia, can lead to fatigue, make it difficult to concentrate and perform everyday tasks, and may indicate that you suffer from depression.

9. Overuse of social media

Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it can also have a negative impact on mental health. A study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety found that people who use social media more than two hours per day are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. The study found that social media use was associated with increased feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety, likely because of comparing one’s life to others. Social media can also lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), which can trigger depression. The same study did not find that social media use caused depression or anxiety, but it did find that there was a correlation between the two. Too much time on social media can lead to loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

10. Living in certain neighborhoods and areas

The environment in which you live can also trigger depression. A study published in the journal Health & Place found that people who live in deprived neighborhoods are more likely to suffer from depression. The study found that living in a deprived neighborhood was associated with an increased risk of depression, even after considering other factors such as employment status and health. The study found that depression was more common in people who lived in neighborhoods with high levels of crime, poor housing, and a lack of amenities. The environment in which you live can have a significant impact on your mental health.

These are only a few of the many unusual triggers of depression. In addition to common triggers like losing your job, going through a divorce, or losing a family member, you should be aware of other unusual triggers of depression. Whether you know it or not, you may be suffering from depression, which could be the reason for your work disability.

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat and sleep. Even simple everyday tasks can seem difficult to accomplish when you’re depressed. Some people with depression may have thoughts about suicide or self-harm. According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis of depression requires the presence of at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, empty or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping
  • Appetite changes and weight loss or gain
  • Anxiety, irritability or restlessness
  • Feeling worthless, guilty or helpless
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression can cause a person to stop working

Depression is a serious and common mental health condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or income. 22.3% of Canadians interviewed in 2022 by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reported experiencing signs and symptoms of depression. This mental illness goes beyond simply feeling sad and may result in work disability. Although the DSM-5 does not specifically list work as an area of impairment for depression, the symptoms of depression can make it difficult for a person to maintain employment. For example:

Other work related disability can be affected by depression in the following ways:

  • fatigue and difficulty concentrating can make it hard to stay focused on tasks at work;
  • feelings of worthlessness and guilt can lead to absenteeism or presenteeism.
  • depression can make it hard to concentrate or make decisions, which can lead to errors or accidents at work;
  • depression can also cause absenteeism, as people may be too ill to come into work or may need to take time off for treatment;
  • depression can affect productivity, as people may have difficulty completing tasks or meet deadlines;
  • Thoughts of death or suicide can create a safety hazard for both the individual and those around them.
  • depression can also lead to social withdrawal, which can make it difficult to interact with co-workers or customers.

This is particularly relevant for people whose depression affects their ability to work, part of the 8.7% of the Canadian population with a mental-health disability. Depression is the most common mental health condition that results in work disability, with an estimated 50% of all depression-related disability claims being filed due to depression.

Are you unable to work – and denied long-term disability benefits? Our Hamilton Long-Term Disability Benefit Lawyers can help.

If you have depression and your depression is preventing you from working, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. Unfortunately, many people with depression are denied disability insurance benefits. Insurance companies often deny claims for depression, citing a lack of evidence or alleging that the claimant can still perform some type of work. Even with legitimate claims of depression, individuals without experience in disability law will find it frustrating speaking with experienced disability insurance companies who are only focused on maintaining their companies’ bottom line.

If you suffer from depression and you have been denied your long-term disability benefits, call Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers today. Since 2003 our law firm has represented hundreds of disability claimants not only in Hamilton but throughout all of Ontario. We have litigated against every major disability carrier in the country and have a very high success rate of case resolution. It’s important to remember that you are not alone – and the termination of your long-term disability benefits is not the end of the road.

We would be happy to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you, at no cost.

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