The Root Causes of Depression

According to the World Health Organization, Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, affects more than 264 million people all over the world.  Depression is more than sadness; its a persistent sadness that often has no apparent reason. Its symptoms can be mild or can be debilitating and even life-threatening.

Symptoms of Depression include:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Thoughts of suicide or attempts of suicide
  • Aches and pains
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Sad, empty feelings that persist
  • Digestive problems
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of interest

If there’s no apparent reason for the extreme sadness, where does it come from?  What are its root causes?

Root Causes
There are 4 major factors that can lead to depression.

Genetics

If someone in your family suffers from Depression, you are more likely to develop it in your lifetime.  To determine whether or not Depression is hereditary, scientists studied twins and found that for 40-50% of them, if one twin suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, the other twin did too.  They also looked at adoptive cases where a biological parent had Depression and the adoptive parents didn’t and found a higher rate of Depression in the adoptive children.

Environmental

The environment in which people live now or grew up in can cause MDD.  Abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, or poverty can increase the chances of developing Depression.  A person’s environment can impact his or her diet and it’s been proven that a poor diet contributes to Depression.

Personality

People who have low self-esteem, are pessimistic, or get overwhelmed by life’s stresses are likelier to develop Depression.  People who are considered neurotic feel fear, sadness, guilt, anger, and envy and have higher rates of Depression.

Biochemistry

An imbalance in brain chemicals can cause symptoms of Depression.  Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that carry messages to the brain.  When they don’t work properly, messages aren’t received in the brain that tell it when something pleasurable is happening. 

Treatments

Depression is usually treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants.  Antidepressants work by preventing neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed back into nerve cells and instead they temporarily stay in the space between the nerves, improving the connections and allowing messages to be sent to the brain so mood can be better regulated.  It may take some time, but quite often an antidepressant or combination of them can be found that can successfully treat the symptoms of Depression.

However, antidepressants work for some people and not others and over time, they may lose their effectiveness.  For these patients, TMS can be a successful solution.

TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is an effective drug alternative for the treatment of Depression. By using magnet fields to stimulate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain where depression originates, patients can regain function in that area and see a significant reduction, or even a complete remission, from depression.  TMS is not for people who suffer from mild Depression but is for those who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and can’t find relief from antidepressants.  

At Gateway TMS, our caring staff will guide you through the process from diagnoses to treatment to filling out insurance forms all in a calm, relaxing environment.  To find out if TMS is a good course of treatment for your Major Depressive Disorder, call Gateway today at (314) 909-8487. We’re here to help.