In this last installment about possible factors that can attribute to onset of depression, we’ll have a closer look at some medical conditions that are linked with mood disorders and depression.
Certain medical problems are linked to lasting, significant mood disturbances. Medical illnesses or medication may be at the cause of 10 to 15% of all depressions.
One of the best known causes are thyroid hormone imbalances. An excess of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can trigger manic symptoms. On the other hand, hypothyroidism, a condition in which your body produces too little thyroid hormone, often leads to exhaustion and depression.
Heart disease has also been linked to depression, with up to half of heart attack survivors reporting feeling blue and many having significant depression. Depression can spell trouble for heart patients: it’s been linked with slower recovery and future cardiovascular trouble. Although doctors have hesitated to give heart patients older depression medications called tricyclic antidepressants because of their impact on heart rhythms, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’S) seem safe for people with heart conditions.
The following medical conditions have also been associated with depression and other mood disorders:
- degenerative neurological conditions: multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease
- some nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin B12
- other endocrine disorders, such as problems with the parathyroid or adrenal glands that cause them to produce too little or too much of particular hormones
- certain immune system diseases, such as lupus
- some viruses and other infections, such as mononucleosis, hepatitis, and HIV
- erectile dysfunction
When considering the connection between health problems and depression, an important question to address is which came first, the medical condition or the mood changes. There is no doubt that the stress of having certain illnesses can trigger depression. In other cases, depression precedes the medical illness and may even contribute to it. To find out whether the mood changes occurred on their own or as a result of the medical illness, a doctor carefully considers a person’s medical history and the results of a physical exam.
If depression or mania springs from an underlying medical problem, the mood changes should disappear after the medical condition is treated. If you have hypothyroidism, for example, lethargy and depression often lift once treatment regulates the level of thyroid hormone in your blood. In many cases, however, the depression is an independent problem, which means that in order to be successful, treatment must address depression directly.
To wrap the series ‘depression and the brain’ up I’ll provide you with all the other posts on the theme. If you’re new here or you may have missed some, you can have a broader idea what possible attributing factors to depression there are known. I also need to clarify that I wrote about depression in this series but that there are different forms of depression like post partum depression, seasonal depression and bipolar depression. They are specific on it’s own and may have other factors attributing to their onset. If you want me to write about those more, you can tell me in the comments.
I thank you for reading and commenting!
My other posts on depression and the brain:
- Depression and the brain – the brain itself.
- Depression and the brain – neurotransmitters, a hell of a ride!
- Depression and the brain – time is the state of my genes.
- Depression and the brain – how stress affects the body.
- Depression and the brain – early losses and trauma.
Full article click here.