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December 26, 2018

Understanding Triggers for Depression


Understanding Triggers for Depression

More than 20 million Americans live with some form of depression. Of these suffering souls, a good portion of them are not aware of their affliction nor the signs of its presence. If you feel like you may teeter on that edge, it is critical that you are aware of the symptoms and issues that typically trigger depression. Doing so, you mitigate chances that it’ll worsen. Below, we will discuss the basic symptoms of depression and detail some common triggers.

What is Depression

Depression is classified as a major depressive disorder and is considered to be a serious mood disorder. This mental health issue causes symptoms that severely alter how you think, feel, and handle everyday life. Researchers believe that one of the underlying causes of depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain, meaning that much of depression is entirely out of a person’s control; they can’t simply just make themselves feel better. There are various forms of depression: Chronic Depression is a chronic mood disorder that lingers for months if not years. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Seasonal Depression, is brought on in winter when the body absorbs less sunlight (and therefore less serotonin is produced) but will usually go away as the seasons change.

Postpartum Depression will usually decrease as time goes on for a new mother. When combined with drug or alcohol use, depression can morph into a co-occurring disorder. Such people have to then manage both their mental health and substance abuse issues—which tend to feed off each other. Signs of depression include: Chronic fatigue Difficulty making decisions Digestive problems Erratic sleep patterns Inconsistent memory Irritability Lack of interest in old hobbies or talents Lingering sadness Low energy Low self-esteem Pessimism or hopelessness Suicidal thoughts Trouble concentrating on tasks Weight gain or loss To begin treating depression, it would be best to speak with a doctor. Quite often, depression is treated with tricyclic antidepressant medication like Prozac or Zoloft in conjunction with Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Holistic treatments have also proven to be effective, as they tend to lower stress and increase a positive perspective in a person’s life.


Depression can be set off by many different things, known as triggers. These can cause either a first-time bout with depression or a relapse back into depression. Some examples of common triggers include:

Stopped Treatment

Often, people will stop taking prescribed mental illness medication because they either think they no longer need it, or they don’t like the way the medication makes them feel. If they stop medication or other forms of therapy before reaching full remission or recovery, there is a chance that this could trigger a slide back into depression. Tip: Talk to your doctor before changing the dosage or ceasing medication altogether.

The Loss of a Job

The economy is rarely dependable; people are laid off regularly in the best of times. The feeling of financial loss, shame, or helplessness can lead to depression. Tip: The best advice is to not shut down. Seek employment or an employment counseling service right away. Stay connected and maintain a social presence. Volunteer. Believe that good things will come your way. The main thing is to stay active in the community.

Empty Nest

Many parents have bouts of depression when the noise dies down, and the excitement wears off. The kids have left the house and all that’s left is an eerie stillness. Tip: You can plan for this day to make the transition easier. Tackle a new hobby or a new skill. Take classes. Immerse yourself in a club. You might even find some friends going through the same things you are. The bottom line is, you have a life, use it.

Loss of a Loved One

We all experience loss and tragedy. Grieving is completely natural. However, some people have this grief fester and linger for longer than is natural. While there is no clear course of time for dealing with the loss of a loved one, this loss should grow easier to handle with time. Tip: If signs of depression linger for months, if not years, then it might be time to turn to medical professionals for help.

Addictive Behavior

Alcohol, gambling, smoking, drug use, over-eating, even binge-watching TV are all addictive behaviors that can be a trigger for depression. Addiction can lead to stress and anxiety, and withdrawal can lead to depression. A neurological shift occurs in the brain when taking a dependence away, but it can be treated. 

Tip: Seek professional help to treat both the addiction as well as the depression.


When suffering from depression, it is best to seek out professional help as soon as possible. Often there are prescribed medications that can help manage or alleviate the symptoms. Reaching out to loved ones or joining a support group is also recommended; talking and writing through your problems helps to begin the healing process.