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Identifying Depression Triggers

More than twenty million Americans suffer from depression every year, but just because someone is suffering from the blues doesn’t mean it has to turn into something more serious.  There are certain triggers that can often flip a person from sad to clinically depressed.  Depression is triggered by the following ten common situations:

1. Job loss.  Losing a job is the number one depression trigger.  It causes financial strain, impacts the sense of self-worth and self-identity, puts strain on relationships and marriages, and brings conflict into situations that are already stressed and unhappy.  Older, higher salaried workers are particularly vulnerable to bouts of depression following a job loss.

2. Sexual issues. Depression and sexual problems are interrelated with one often triggering the other.  Many antidepressant medications cause sexual issues.

3. Empty nest syndrome.  Loss and change are two of the hardest things we deal with, so when a child leaves it’s a double blow.  Everything that’s normal changes, every day is different.  For some, this is a real problem and can trigger depression.

4. Alcohol abuse.  Depression has been linked to alcohol abuse for many years.  Alcohol effects mood and is a depressant on the central nervous system.  This can trigger depression in a person.

5. Illness.  Diagnosis of a serious illness can trigger depression.  It can change how a person thinks about the future, it can change their outlook, and how they think of the possibilities of a future.

6. Divorce. Change is hard no matter how it happens and a divorce is a huge change.  It is not only a change, but the change is to the social unit, to the status that goes with that social unit and this can trigger depression.  Loneliness, fear, sadness – these are all common reactions following a divorce.  Additionally, there is often financial strain which can add to the depression trigger.

7. Debt and financial stress.  Constant worry about how to pay the bills will, over time, add to stress and may eventually trigger depression.  It may also effect self-esteem and cause frustration.

8. Fertility.  Trying to have a baby and not being able to conceive can be a powerful trigger for depression.   Being forced into early menopause because of illness or as a result of surgery or chemotherapy may also trigger depression as a woman realizes she may never have children.

9. Providing fulltime care for someone with a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s.  The caregiver role is extremely demanding taking incredible time and energy on the part of the caregiver.  This role often requires the caregiver to make conflicting choices resulting in guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and resentment.

10. Menopause and male menopause.  Hormonal fluctuations set off symptoms which can include depression, fatigue, anxiety, and low libido.  Any or all of these can lead to depression as well.

Knowing the depression triggers will help to identify potential situations and what might cause a slide into depression.  This knowledge can help prevent these bouts of depression by understanding what causes them and being able to head it off before it becomes too bad.


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