23 Nov, 2020
Depression is a mental illness. It can be described as feelings of extreme sadness, loss, or anger over a long period of time which interfere with our daily activities. Depression affects how we feel, think and behave and can lead to emotional and physical problems. There are many causes of depression like breakups, loss of a loved one, family conflicts, divorces, financial problems etc. Kiran Makhijani, a Psychologist, Counselor and Psychotherapist with extensive experience in counselling clients from all age groups – children, adolescents, young adults, adults, and the elderly, discusses the causes of depression.
Medicines have side effects and it causes hormonal imbalance. If there is an overdose of medicines, it can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. When a patient visits Makhijani, the medical history of the person is taken into consideration to ascertain the kind of suitable medication for a patient along with counselling or therapy sessions.
Makhijani states that every person’s problem solving and decision making skills are different. Some of us may feel helpless when we are not able to resolve our problems. It leads to anxiety attacks, panic and sadness. This sadness over a period of time causes depression. There can be ego issues or a family member may feel isolated or being unnecessarily targeted by other family members. Makhijani says that it is ideal to have one on one counselling sessions along with group counselling sessions through which the counsellor can help the individuals to sort out their problems and understand each other.
The bereavement over the loss of a loved one will depend from person to person. The acceptance of a death of a loved one usually slowly comes in, once the death rituals are complete. When we are mourning the loss of a loved one, we cannot function normally on a day-to-day basis. This can lead to depression. If a person is spiritual in nature and understands that death is nothing but a transition of a soul from one lifetime to another, then the process of acceptance becomes a little easier.
Makhijani states that the age group of 20 to 35 is susceptible to depression when a relationship ends or fails. After a breakup, an individual may fear not being able to find a partner and have a relationship again. Lack of self-love and self-care while going through flashbacks of a relationship, triggered due to pain, may lead to depression during these delicate times. Makhijani says that everybody has different goals in a relationship and the idea of a relationship differs between two partners which may result in breakups. A person may also suffer from depression at the time of going through a divorce or post the divorce. The estranged spouse may be depressed due to continuous thoughts of raising a child single-handedly, balancing his/ her career and bearing the financial burdens.
A family history of depression may increase the risk. Autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be passed down over the next generations if anybody in the family has a history of these illnesses. Makhijani states that it is not necessary that mental illnesses are passed down only from a parent to a child.
Sometimes depression may coexists due a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition. People suffering from cancer, brain tumour and other fatal diseases may suffer from depression. In such cases, the physical strength of a person is low due to chemotherapy sessions and other therapies where radiation is used. The person feels physically, emotionally and mentally drained, which can lead to depression. Loved ones should be realistic and encourage the patient to live life in the present moment, if the doctors have stated that the chances of survival are low.
People with substance abuse problems also have clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol temporarily make you feel better, they ultimately will aggravate depression.
Most of the teenagers suffer from peer pressure and academic pressure. Parents, relatives and friends constantly compare a teenager’s academic performance with that of a friend or a sibling or with the previous academic records of parents. This causes mental strain on the child which may lead to depression.
If a person has too many personal debts or loans taken by other family members, it may lead to depression, if a person is not able to pay on time or facing financial losses or crunches due to temporary unemployment.
Major events like a job switch, losing a job or income can cause depression. Losing your life savings or property due to a cyclone, earthquake or any other natural calamity can also cause depression. We need to understand that even if everything is lost in life, it can be built again with the help of counselling sessions and emotional support from family members.
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