Maybe you’ve noticed recently that you’re more lethargic than usual or that you just aren’t interested in things this week. Maybe you’ve noticed concentration problems or that you’re more anxious than usual. You’re tired, irritated, and distracted. These are all common signs of depression.
Depression has many different causes and symptoms, but one thing plays a big part: your hormones. A change or drop in your hormones, no matter how it’s caused, can lead to the development of depression.
Depression can affect anyone. Whether you live on your own, with your family, or in any form of assisted living, it’s important to know the signs of depression. With compassion and understanding, you can support someone you love struggling with depression. Staying connected with your loved ones plays an important part in preventing and treating depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental medical condition that affects how you think and act. It can appear in different levels of severity, but it generally involves an overall feeling of sadness, lethargy, and disinterest in things. It is, however, highly treatable.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Lethargy or tiredness
- Lack of interest
- Concentration problems
- Appetite changes
- Trouble sleeping
- Thoughts about suicide or self-harm
It’s estimated that over 15% of the population suffers from depression every year. It can be caused by many different biological and medical factors. Whether it’s caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or by being in a constantly unsafe environment, depression can affect anybody.
Depression is one of the more treatable mental conditions, though. There are several different treatment options, with medication, therapy, and social support being the most common choices.
How Do Hormones Affect Depression?
Your body naturally produces all kinds of different hormones, with each serving their own individual purpose. However, several of them are tied directly to your mood and happiness: serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin.
When your body and brain naturally have the proper levels of these hormones, your brain has what it needs to operate healthily. But when there’s an imbalance caused by a changing level in your hormones, it can directly lead to developing the symptoms of depression.
A hormone imbalance can be caused by many different things. A change in medication, a stressful environment, or serious changes in your life—all of these can affect how your body produces hormones and lead to a change.
Serotonin is a mood stabilizer of sorts and is involved with many other processes in your body, like healing and digestion. In the brain, it operates as a kind of feel-good chemical. When your serotonin levels are at their optimal levels, you feel more focused, happier, and stable.
Dopamine is best described as the “reward” hormone. It produces a feeling of pleasure or happiness when it’s produced. Having high levels of dopamine causes your brain to naturally seek out and participate in enjoyable activities.
Endorphins operate as a natural painkiller and help the body maintain a positive state of well-being. There are many different kinds of specific endorphins. In the brain, endorphins reduce feelings of anxiety and pain and help your brain by supporting your cognitive functions.
It’s possible to boost your endorphins through physical exercise and participating in activities you enjoy.
Oxytocin is also known as the love chemical. It primarily affects the brain by helping us feel bonded with others and influences a person’s behavior. It mostly affects the reproductive system but also affects how a person feels love and support.
When your oxytocin levels are at their optimal level, you feel close to the people you care about, as well as a general feeling of trust and love—think of it as the “warm and fuzzy” chemical. However, when your oxytocin levels are low, it can have the opposite effect: jealousy, suspicion, and distrust become more common.
What to Do if I Have Depression?
Fortunately, there are treatment options available for depression. Whether therapy, medication or by changing the environmental factors causing it, there are solutions to help you if you’re struggling with this condition.
It’s important to notice the signs of depression developing. If you or a loved one has been feeling more lethargic, sad, or isolated, it’s important to take the steps needed to get help. Speak with your doctor or medical practitioner as soon as you can and they can help you.
Caring Senior Care
Here at All American Senior Living in Kingston, we care about the mental health of each and every resident. With our services and amenities available to our residents, we take pride in making every person here truly feel like they’re part of our community. Schedule a tour to see for yourself the high quality of care we give our residents!
Depression can affect your daily life in many different ways, but it is fortunately highly treatable. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, please seek help from a health care professional.