Why Happy People Can Still Get Depression

Why Happy People Can Still Get Depression

Depression can become a serious, debilitating issue when it is persistent

Major depression is a real problem, not merely a prolonged case of the blues. People with major depression cannot simply get over it, shake it off, or fake cheerfulness until it goes away. Major depression is a mental health disorder that requires treatment.

Major depression is also surprisingly common. In fact, major depression is so widespread that some mental health professionals refer to it as the common cold of mental illness. Unfortunately, due to stigmas surrounding depression, there are many depressed people who do not seek help. There is no shame in seeking help, however. Professional help for depression allows many individuals to manage their symptoms and lead happier lives.

Depression Is a Complex Mental Illness

Although it is common, depression is not simple or easy to understand, and there is no one-size fits all mode of treatment. According to Harvard Health, depression is not merely a simple chemical imbalance that can be corrected with the right medication, as many people seem to believe. Depression is complicated, as there millions and millions of chemicals that make up the system in our brain that allows us to perceive life, experience moods, and feel the depth of our emotions. Therefore, although two people may both suffer from a chemical imbalance, the nature of their chemical imbalances may be vastly different, and the medications and treatments they need will probably also vary. Furthermore, there are multiple causes of depression, many of which stem from an individual’s environmental influences, rather than just his or her brain activity.

What Are the Causes of Depression?

Happy people are not immune to developing major depression. Perfectly normal, highly functioning individuals can develop major depression for a number of reasons. Two common causes of depression that are well recognized in the mental health profession include significant life events and genetics. These two causes of depression are described in greater detail below:

  • Significant life events – Even happy people can experience a negative life event, such as job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one that can bring on a case of depression. However, even positive changes can lead to depression. For example, a promotion at work can lead to a lot of change in an individual’s life. Although the change should be a positive one, it may be difficult to adjust to a new routine, and the individual may develop depression as he copes with leaving his old way of life behind.
  • Genetic predisposition – Individuals with parents who suffer from major depression are somewhat more likely to develop depression themselves, according to WebMD. However, there is probably no specific gene that causes depression. Rather, multiple genes can contribute to depression in small ways. These genes, combined with the individual’s specific environment, can lead to depression.

There are many other, less common causes of depression including hypothyroidism, sleep problems, and certain medications, to name just a few. These particular causes of depression are described in greater detail below.

  • Hypothyroidism and Depression – Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body does not receive enough of the thyroid hormone. A lack of the thyroid hormone can cause many symptoms, including weight gain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression. According to Harriet Brown’s New York Times article, many individuals are diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, when the real problem is in their thyroid. Other illnesses can cause depression, as well, but usually in a different way. Individuals who are diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes have to make significant lifestyle changes that may be difficult to cope with and lead to depression.
  • Sleep Problems and Depression – Poor sleep habits are often associated with depression, either by causing depression or by being a symptom of it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, individuals with insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression than individuals who sleep well at night. Sleep restores a person physically and emotionally, and when a person does not get an adequate amount of sleep, he or she is more likely to be irritable and tense. Fatigue from lack of sleep can also make it difficult to do things that prevent depression, such as exercise.
  • Commonly Used Medications and Depression – One way a perfectly happy person can develop depression is by taking a medication that is capable of triggering a depressive disorder. Medications that may cause depression include but are not limited to the following: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, birth control pills, and Accutane, an acne medication. Some of these medications, such as birth control, are used quite commonly.

Many situations or circumstances can result in depression, but help is always available. Treatment for depression often involves talk therapy, medications, or both. These treatments are worth pursuing and can be very effective. Individuals with depression do not have to accept sadness as a part of their daily life. With the right help, they can leave prolonged feelings of sadness behind.

Need Help Finding High Quality Mental Health Treatment?

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, don’t hesitate to seek help. Call our toll-free number today to learn about your options for treatment. We are available any time of the day or night to take your call and help you learn more about the high quality treatment that can lead you or your loved one to a long-lasting recovery.