Everyone experiences sad moods sometimes, but those feelings usually subside after a while. Depression is defined as a serious mental illness that is characterized by the persistent and overwhelming feelings of sadness, lethargy, and hopelessness. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting around 9% of adults on average. There are many forms of depression that can develop because of specific circumstances and affect people differently, such as psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder. Depression can interfere with work, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Causes of Depression
It is important to understand what causes depression in order to treat it in the most appropriate way. Depression is a mental illness that develops over time, and can be triggered by a number of factors, like biological, environmental, family history, and emotional trauma. Some people are at higher risk of developing depression than others, depending on genetics and lifestyle.
Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men. Researchers believe can be traced to the hormone fluctuations women experience after puberty, specifically during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause because estrogen production affects the brain's regulation of mood and emotions.
Depression at Work
Depression can considerably impact your ability to work and put forth your best effort.
Decreased productivity. Depression can significantly affect motivation and make the idea of doing the everyday tasks seem impossible.
Decreased energy. One of the most common physical symptoms of depression is fatigue. Decreased energy levels at work make it difficult to concentrate and find motivation to do any work.
Cognitive functions. Depression significantly affects one's ability to concentrate, think, make decisions, and focus. Consequently, this can make work extremely difficult.
Work relationships. Relationships take a blow when depression takes over, and work relationships are no exception. It becomes difficult to make the effort to make small talk, and co-workers also become intolerant of poor performance. Depressed people also feel the urge to isolate and withdraw from social situations, which worsens tension.
Memory retrieval. Depression often worsens short-term memory, which can be detrimental in the workplace.
Accidents. Attention to detail and safety are usually put on the back burner when someone is suffering from depression.
If you think you are suffering from depression, it is crucial to seek professional help as soon as possible.In addition to getting professional treatment, it is recommended to stay active. Exercising regularly releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins and also promotes other health benefits like improving mood, bettering sleep, increasing energy, and reducing stress. If the cause of depression is hormone fluctuations, then there are easy steps to follow to maintain physical and mental health.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Treating clinical depression. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Treatment.aspx
- National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). What Is Depression? Retrieved September 9, 2014, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml