People develop depression for many reasons: the passing away of a loved one, loss of work, excessive stress, or thyroid conditions. Depression is associated with neurotransmitter abnormalities and the treatments, such as antidepressants or cognitive behavior therapy, aim to correct these neurotransmitter imbalances and improve mental and emotional wellbeing. Depression can come and go, or last for a long time. In either instance, it can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Depression is a complex disorder with a wide variety of causes.

Winter Weather

Changes in the weather can cause depression, especially for people living in populations within the northern and southern latitudes. Seasonal affective disorder affects up to five percent of Americans. When the body adjusts to a new season, many changes take place, on both a hormonal and physical level. The adjustment to less sunlight can disrupt cognitive processes and emotions, leading to depression. Reduced sunlight had been linked with a drop in serotonin, which may trigger depression.



Smoking has devastating effects on our bodies, especially our lungs. The habit can increase the risk of mouth and lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and more. Smoking can also have negative repercussions on mental health, increasing an individual's risk of depression and other, similar conditions. Addiction to nicotine can lead individuals to feel anxious and unhappy when the alkaloid is not in their system and may develop depression if experiencing withdrawal from the substance.


Thyroid Disease

The thyroid gland regulates many physiological and psychological functions, including hormone levels and metabolism. If the thyroid gland does not create sufficient levels of thyroid hormone, the resulting condition (hypothyroidism) can cause depression or other mental health disturbances. Often, doctors will recommend that people exhibiting the symptoms of depression have their thyroid activity tested. People with depression for this reason may find thyroid medications alleviate their symptoms.


Lackluster Sleep

People who do not get enough sleep are at risk for depression. Our brains need time to replenish their energy levels and cognitive functions. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Developing a routine before bed can help your body and mind recognize that it is time to sleep soon.


Social Media

Many people today develop excessive dependence on the internet, especially social media. Spending too much time on these websites has been linked to depression, especially among the teenage demographic. People who are addicted to the internet can forget about the realities of daily life, which may affect their perception of the world. The rise of internet shaming can also have a hugely detrimental effect on mental health.


Too Much TV

Psychology research suggests watching too much TV can cause acute depression. Often, the ending of a movie or television show can have a visceral effect on an individual, leading to anxiety, depression, and more extreme issues. Like social media, it is important to consume television in moderation and avoid shows and movies that are deeply upsetting to you.


Noise Pollution

People who live in major cities know that high levels of noise contamination are unpleasant. Noise pollution, from cars and airplanes, especially, is linked to increased depression. Though there are mental benefits to urban living as well, people in city environments have a 39% higher risk of developing certain mental conditions compared to those who live in rural areas. Another factor that makes city life more stressful is the excessive amount of artificial light, which can disturb sleep cycles.


Making Choices

For some, having to make sudden decisions or choices can lead to extreme stress and anxiety, especially in individuals who have other underlying physical or psychological conditions. This stress and anxiety can lead to depression. Even choices that others may not find stressful can strongly affect individuals predisposed to these conditions. Many mindfulness techniques may be able to alleviate the difficulty inherent in making choices. In serious cases, treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy are shown to have a positive effect.


Insufficient Omega-3

A diet that does not contain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to depression. These essential nutrients are found in fish like salmon, as well as nuts and vegetable oils. Studies suggest the link between omega-3 fatty acid levels and depression exists because the nutrient regulates certain elements of our brain that can make us more prone to depression. One of the best ways to get enough omega-3s is to take fish oil supplements, which are also good for overall health.


Family Relationships

The health of your relationships has a substantial impact on depression. Because many of us spend a lot of time surrounded by our family, a small fight or inconvenience can transform into a long-lasting problem. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found males who do not get along with their siblings during childhood were more likely to develop depression later in life. Numerous other studies highlight similar links between relationships and depression.


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