When it comes to mental health, most people tend not to have an established vocabulary, making it more difficult to voice mental health struggles. At times, it can seem impossible to unravel the emotions we’re experiencing, much less explain them to others. However, ignoring negative emotions or being unable to adequately express how we feel can quickly find ourselves burying moments of anger, grief, sadness, and even depression. If you’ve ever asked, “why am I depressed for no reason?” please know that you’re not alone.
Given the seriousness of depression, it seems logical that this condition intensifies gradually. In the beginning, symptoms should be easily recognizable, right? However, the complexity of any mental health condition means that symptoms can appear at random, in response to a certain situation, or for no reason at all.
What is Depression?
Experiencing extreme sadness, loneliness, and even fear can manifest as a depressive episode. It can be triggered by events such as losing a loved one, facing a difficult situation like divorce or losing a job, or even troubled sleep patterns. While all of these are everyday life stressors, those diagnosed with depression as a psychiatric disorder, the manifestations of chronic low mood are much more severe and tend to persist.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2017, over 17 million adults, or 7% of all adults, age 18 or older in the U.S., experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
The Mayo Clinic defines depression as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities. Depression is also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It can severely impact how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. It can also lead to various emotions and physical problems.
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression are usually apparent as they can impact everyday life. In fact, when severe enough, symptoms can cause noticeable issues in daily activities such as work, school, social activities, or personal relationships. Some individuals suffering from depression may feel miserable or unhappy without really knowing why. Why am I depressed for no reason? This question is not uncommon.
Depression symptoms can include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
- Sleep disturbances including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Trouble concentration or making decisions
Physical Impacts of Depression
Depression is considered a mental disorder, but it can also negatively impact physical health and well-being. When left untreated, depression can cascade into a myriad of physical issues, including:
- Chronic body aches
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Weight fluctuations
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Sleep disorders
- Weakened immune system
It’s also connected with certain neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
In addition to these physical impacts, people suffering from depression may be increasingly more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. When an individual suffers from both depression and addiction, it’s referred to as a dual diagnosis. Generally, dual diagnosis describes a mental disorder like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, combined with addiction. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffers from depression.
Emotional Impacts of Depression
Clinical depression can bring about unfamiliar emotions, and many may seem illogical to you. You may question, why am I depressed for no reason? The answer to this question is not a simple one. Still, studies suggest that certain risk factors may increase the likelihood that a person experiences a depressive episode or is diagnosed with clinical depression. A few factors include:
- Inability to face problems
- Life experiences
- Personality style
Recognizing that depression can cause long-term emotional and physical health problems can help a person to seek treatment.
For more information on dual diagnosis depression and substance use disorders, contact our licensed therapist through AspenRidge Recovery at 855-281-5588. Our treatment programs work to address addiction and underlying mental health conditions like clinical depression.
Types of Depression
As mental health experts and psychiatrists uncover more on clinical depression, effective treatment options are becoming more widely available. It’s also critical to understand the different types of depression and how each can impact a person short- and long-term. The following are common types of depression:
- Major depression – this form of depression is the most widely known. Those suffering from clinical depression may experience despair, grief, lack of energy, loss of interest, lack of concentration, and much more.
- Persistent depression – also referred to as dysthymia or chronic depression, this type can last for two or more years.
- Manic depression, or bipolar disorder – this form of depression can result in manic episodes of extreme highs and lows. A person may experience a depressive episode before or following a manic episode.
- Depressive psychosis – individuals may experience hallucinations and delusions
- Perinatal depression – this type of depression occurs in mothers who are expecting or those who have just given birth.
- Seasonal depression – also called seasonal affective disorder, this depression is related to certain seasons. For most people, it tends to happen during the winter months
- Situational depression – a more common form of depression, situational depression typically follows a specific event or situation such as a death, serious illness, divorce, facing legal troubles, etc.
A formal diagnosis of depression can help individuals distinguish what type they may be experiencing.
Why Am I Depressed for No Reason?
The pressure to explain or justify negative emotions can actually worsen symptoms of depression. In general, researchers are still learning about the different mechanisms that drive this mental health condition. But more often, it’s a combination of factors that cause or trigger the onset of symptoms. Research suggests that for some individuals, neurotransmitters may play a role in contributing to mental health disorders. Lack of certain substances in the brain can lead to imbalances in brain chemicals. Antidepressants may be necessary to restore balance.
Understanding the chemistry of depression may help others become familiar with the various treatment options. Psychotherapy is helpful for most diagnosed with clinical depression. However, if a client finds that therapy alone is not fully addressing issues, antidepressants combined with psychotherapy may be more effective.
Self-Medicating and Addiction
Due to several reasons, a significant portion of individuals suffering from clinical depression never seeks treatment. Shame and stigma surrounding mental health disorders create a barrier in accessing needed help, and as a result, many turn to self-medicating.
Depression, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is a significant contributing factor in why people abuse alcohol or drugs and why they may be unable to quit. Trauma and other depressive episodes and triggers can increase the odds of someone developing a substance dependency.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported around 20% of individuals suffering from an anxiety or mood disorder also battle with a substance use disorder, and vice versa. In addition, both anxiety and depression are common side effects of substance withdrawal. Receiving treatment for co-occurring disorders can address substance dependency and underlying mental health disorders like depression.
Treatment Programs for Depression
If you or someone you love is living with depression, we strongly recommend you seek professional care. Building health habits and dealing with stress may also aid in combating depression symptoms. Taking care of your physical body can drastically improve mental health. For example, exercise is one of the best things to consider, as it releases endorphins and improves self-esteem and body impact.
Ongoing therapy can also help strengthen and improve your outlook. However, when facing the question, why am I depressed for no reason, it may be probable that an imbalance in brain chemicals may need to be addressed by a licensed physician.
AspenRidge Recovery Dual Diagnosis Care
AspenRidge Recovery offers dual diagnosis care for individuals suffering from substance use disorder and clinical depression. The Joint Commission accredits our treatment facility, and our licensed clinicians are experienced in addressing co-occurring disorders. Our programs offer evidence-based care, and we provide various levels of care.