Dame Kelly Holmes is an athlete who was depressed and cut herself with knives and other sharp instruments. Robbie Williams, the famous singer, stated that he was grappling with depression and this was related to his ecstasy abuse and cocaine addiction. Actor, Stephen Fry noted that although he appeared to be happy, inside he was hopelessly depressed. Actress, Brooke Shields expected never to be joyful again, as if she “had fallen into a big black hole”. Cyclist, Graeme Obree declared after a personal experience that depression makes everything around distorted. Model and TV presenter, Melina Messenger affirmed: “I felt suicidal.
I couldn’t stop crying. I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be great if the car crashed and I died? ” (celebrities, 2006, pp. 1-2). Dalida, the well-know singer, committed suicide leaving a note saying:” “Life has become unbearable … Forgive me”(Dalida, 1987, p. 1)… Martin Luther King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope”. So what do we tell the people who did? These people, who once faced an obstacle fell down and were not able to move on. Their low moods remained and interfered with their ability of eating, working, sleeping, and having fun (Smith et al, 2007c, p. 1).
These people who are not just celebrities or just ordinary persons, they are everyone and at increasing risk. Statistics in 2002 showed that one out of each eight men and one out of each five women are susceptible of having a minimum of one depressive state in his or her life (Thompson, 2002, p. 1). Why have we become such a depressed society? Why have we lost the sense of happiness and the motivation and why is everything looking bleak? The reasons are not one. Rather, several causes can add-up together to make a person susceptible to a depressive state including health factors, social influences and psychological aspects.
To begin with, many health factors make some people more prone to depression. In fact, many people used to think that heredity is the main cause. It is true that “Depression runs in families” but whether or not this is due to genetic influences is still ambiguous. Genes have a modest role, showed the twin findings. Its influence is; however, much more important in grave cases. In other words, dysthymia which is a minor type of depression is less affected by the genetic factors (Smith & Jaffe, 2007, pp. 1-2). Actually, the genetic predisposition is attributed to multiple genes referred to as quantitative trait loci (QTL’s).
This implies that we do not have a unique locus that leads to psychiatric conditions; yet, numerous alleles interrelate to increase the probability of a person to become depressed (Holshoer, 2008, p. 3). On the other hand, biology also plays an important role. Indeed, it is thought that hormonal imbalances can lead to such mood states. Many examples are offered to support this assumption. One of them is that people suffering from the Cushing disease characterized by the elevated production of cortisol, are frequently depressed (Adelson, 2005, p. 1).
The other is that pregnant women, especially the ones already at risk, show hormonal fluctuations that may lead to a depressive state. Similarly, after delivery, some new mothers face a severe and durable period of despair, a condition known as the postpartum depression influenced mainly by hormonal concentration variation in the female body. In addition, women at both the perimenopause and menopause stages experience a drop in their reproductive hormone levels and so have a dreary lifestyle (Smith ; Jaffe, 2007a, p. 3). Moreover, biology can interfere through the neurotransmitters’ impairment.
Indeed, In 1965, the American researcher Joe Schildkrauth came up with the hypothesis of catecholamine, pointing that depression is due to inadequate catecholamine activity mainly norepinephrine’s at “functionally” essential adrenergic receptors at the brain level (Holshboer, 2008, p. 7). Afterwards, Many other neurotransmitters were discovered to be behind cases of depression, specifically dopamine. The later, is responsible for all the feelings of sadness and happiness and any problem occurring in relation with its concentration in the brain will booster mood disorders (Joshi, 2005, p. 124).
Last but not least, some people go through depression because of some health problems that influence their mood. This state is therefore sometimes caused by the medical process itself since it acts directly on the brain. Such conditions are the Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and the Alzheimer. In the other cases, depression is shown as a symptom of a medical disease: disorders in the endocrine or the immune system are effective contributors. For example, when the concentration of the thyroid hormone is reduced, a condition known as Hypothyroidism, patients tend to become fatigued and in a really bad mood.
Furthermore, depression might be either due to a chronic pain or due to the consumption of some medication. Sicknesses causing a long-lasting pain or a disability might bring about hopelessness. Especially if it is physical and affects the person’s lifestyle, cases of depression are aggravated. “The avid golfer who can no longer play because of arthritis pain, the independent senior citizen forced to give up her driver’s license, the young sport buff confined a wheelchair, all must deal with new limitations”.
And if they were not capable of figuring out a way to adapt, they most probably turn out to be depressed. Also, the treatment of a certain sickness can trigger this disorder. As a matter of fact, several medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, contraceptive pills, sleeping pills, chemotherapy drugs, appetite suppressants and many others, have depression listed as a side effect. Unfortunately, individual’s status get worse as the intake of these drugs expands over a long period of time (Smith & Jaffe, 2007b, pp. 2-3). In addition, some social influences can cause depression.