Depression, like many other psychological and emotional conditions, can occur as a result of some physical upset. Before we rule depression in it’s important to rule known causes out. Jumping the diagnostic gun can happen for a number of reasons but a key reason, such as a history of depression, is not an excuse for excluding other possible causes. This post doesn’t supply an exhaustive list of issues that can cause depression, but it does reveal something of the breadth of conditions, diseases and illnesses that are known. Properly identified and treated the symptoms of depression will hopefully subside, but even then the outcome isn’t always so positive.
There is no particular order or sequence to these examples but for the sake of structure we could first consider the more chronic and debilitating conditions. Cancer, heart disease, joint conditions like arthritis, long-term pain, brain or endocrine disorders are just a few known conditions known to help trigger depression.It is estimated that as many as 60% of people suffer depression following a heart attack. Parkinson’s and MS may be as high as 40%. The unfortunate fact is that depression may come about as either a cause or a consequence of physical illness and we are therefore potential victims.
Infectious diseases are also culprits. Anything from influenza to hepatitis, to tuberculosis can have mood suppressing effects. Chronic fatigue syndrome has a number of symptoms that are very similar to depression. These include headaches, low energy and motivation, a sense of hopelessness, aches and pains and stomach upsets.
Unfortunately, even if the underlying cause for depression is identified and treated a further potential complication comes in the form medication. The side effects of many medications used in the treatments of cardiac, endocrine, anxiety disorders, or hormonal imbalances, include depression. Fortunately it may be possible to either modify the dose or switch to an alternative that is better tolerated.
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Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.