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4 Everyday Hidden Sources of Depression

Ever feel uncomfortable, sad or blue and can’t explain it? You may be experiencing a symptom of depression caused by an everyday hidden cause. Depression effects as many as 19 million adults. Given that statistical reporting is usually much lower than the real prevalence, depression is a common disorder.

Symptoms of depression can include: sadness, crying, irritability, agitation, boredom, fatigue, feelings of self-doubt, insomnia, oversleeping, weight gain, weight loss, reactivity to rejection, distraction, memory loss, difficulty enjoying life, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of guilt, persistent worry, anxiety, social isolation, suicidal thoughts and in extreme cases: hallucinations.

Everyone has experienced some symptoms of depression at one time or another. This particular article is not about whether or not you may have a depression diagnosis, but rather could a symptom of depression that you are experiencing be the result of an unusual, everyday cause?

An important thing to understand about depression and the mind-body relationship is this: What came first? The chicken or the egg? As we discussed in a previous article on mindfulness the purpose of your mind is to move. By mind moving we mean thinking. Sometimes feelings of depression are actually a sensation in the body, such as fatigue, or restlessness. Our cognitive brain works quickly to apply meaning to our sensations. If we have an unexplained set of feelings, that are typically associated with depression, we can be quick to come up with cognitive reasons such as, “the world is out to get me” or “my life sucks” as the source, rather than looking at some everyday causes that we may be overlooking.


1) Commonly Used Medications

Photo credit: bayat / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: bayat / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

It’s cold and flu season and you may be on an antibiotic to recover. Perhaps you have noticed that you have a deflated dull feeling? Perhaps you are on birth control and feel like the world is coming to an end? There are many medications that have emotional side effects. The following list of medications are known to cause symptoms of depression in some people. This list is not comprehensive, so double-check that a medication you are taking isn’t the culprit for your symptoms of depression.


Calcium Channel Blockers

Beta Blockers

Birth Control

Statins for cholesterol


Here’s a related article at WebMd

2) Drinking Alcohol

This is something that most people engage in on a regular basis.  People who drink regularly, although they may not be considered heavy drinkers, might be wondering why they feel flat, depressed, bored or generally listless about life. Alternatively they may feel irritable, restless or anxious. It’s not commonly understood that alcohol is a depressant. This is the result of neurotoxic effects of alcohol exposure to the brain. Researchers know that heavy alcohol consumption can lead to periods of depression. Think about times that you have had a strong hangover and can’t shake the low-grade crappy feeling you have. This experience is one clue as to the ongoing, hidden impact of regular use. Most people who cut back on their drinking, or quit drinking altogether, find success with reducing their depression.

Here is a comprehensive article on alcohol use and depression.

3) Accomplishing a Goal, or Achieving Success

Initially we can be excited and feel proud to have reached achievement, but after that moment is gone, depression can set in. This seems counter-intuitive. Why would someone who has achieved what they wanted feel depressed? People who are highly goal directed, or who have been very focused on a particular task for a long time, may be holding their feelings of self-esteem and self-worth within that goal or task. In being so distracted by the task at hand they may be out of touch with other feelings of grief or self-doubt. In the absence of a task, or goal they lose their sense of direction and feel lost. Sometimes when people accomplish a lengthy task, such as getting a college degree, or in the case of artists like actors and musicians (finishing a movie or an album) there can be a sense of loss. We commonly overlook how much loss is impacting our lives, in this case, the loss of a goal or special project.

4) Sugar Consumption

Photo credit: chotda / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: chotda / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This is something that impacts all of us. Excess sugar consumption has grave effects on our mental health and several writers from our team will be addressing this issue. If you have ongoing emotional difficulties, do some research on how sugar may be the culprit. Despite the fact that our brain survives on sugar, too much sugar destabilizes the brain  Too much sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). A deficit in BDNF causes difficulty with memory and learning. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in diabetics and pre-diabetics. Low BDNF levels are linked to depression and dementia.

Here is an article discussing the impact of sugar on your brain and mental health.

Here is another article on sugar and depression.

2 thoughts on “4 Everyday Hidden Sources of Depression

    • Isn’t that how it goes! Alcohol impairs our perspective and we feel great– then boom we crash! It’s good that the next day you know alcohol is the culprit. What’s unfortunate for chronic drinkers is that day after day they feel inexplicably crappy, and since the drinking is consistent, but only moderate, they don’t make the connection to their depression and pessimistic outlook on life.

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