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Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

Depression Runs Deep:


The Effects of Multi-generational Depression
Megan E. Best
Salt Lake Community College

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

Depression Runs Deep:


The Effects of Multi-generational Depression
Like most disease depression can effect someones life a little bit or
drastically. It all depends on the severity of the disease. Also like many
diseases, different things including genetics can cause depression. This
paper will explore what depression is, causes, treatments, prevention, and
how exercise and nutrition play a role. Although depression can be
debilitating having an understanding about the disease can prepare not only
the person experiencing depression but also generations to come.
Definition
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a
valuable book for doctors, psychologist and psychiatrist. This is a book that
gives a standard for classification of mental disorders. It takes into account
many different clinical studies and research, which then is compiled into a
standard definition and classification for mental health disorders (APA 2015).
The DSM states that the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder is:
Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life
activities for at least 2 weeks and at least five of the following
symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social,
work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day,
Depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest or pleasure,
significant unintentional weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping
too much, agitation, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling worthlessness

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

or excessive guilt, diminished ability to think, recurrent thoughts of


death (NCBI 2000)

Depression can be portrayed or felt differently in every individual. No


two people will have the exact same symptoms. That is why the DSM defines
depression as having at least five of the symptoms stated above. There are
also many different levels of severity. Depression can be diagnosed in
anyone. It can affect Men, women, the elderly, teens and even children.
Causes
The exact cause of depression is still unknown, mostly because many
factors come into play. Some of the known causes are: biological differences,
brain chemistry, hormones, inherited traits and life events (Mayo Clinic
2015). Depression has been studied extensively and researches have found
that those with depression have physical changes in their brains, causing
biological differences. The brain chemistry involves neurotransmitters. When
the chemicals are out of balance the neurotransmitters can misfire or
ceasefire. Hormones can also trigger depression. Most commonly the Thyroid
hormone if too low can cause depression. There have also been generational
studies done on those who have depression and more than likely a person
with depression can trace this back in their genealogy. Researchers are still
trying to pinpoint the gene that is being passed on. Finally, life events,
specifically traumatic events can trigger depression in some people (Mayo
Clinic 2015). When you lose a loved one or something happens to you that is

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

life changing many people dont know how to sort out their feelings and can
go into a depressive state. Usually, this type of depression is considered
situational and some one can recover from it.
A few less researched causes include Seasonal affective disorder
(SAD), which different seasons or weather can make you depressed. Smoking
and depression has been linked but it is hard to say if people smoke because
they are depressed or they are depressed because they smoke. Poor sleep
habits can increase your risk of depression. Recently something called
Facebook overload has been suggested as being associated with depression.
Also some suggest that an end of something important like a TV show or
movie can cause feelings of depression. In 2009, some Avatar fans reported
feeling depressed (12 surprising causes of depression 2015). Other reported
causes include; where you live, too many choices lack of fish in the diet, poor
sibling relationships, birth control pills and some medications (12 surprising
causes of depression 2015).
Treatment
When it comes to treatment of depression it is also an individual
management and finding what works. There is not one thing that can cure
depression. The big three however are therapy, medication and lifestyle
changes. Finding the right treatment takes time and energy. It may take
trying many different medications for 6-8 weeks each. You need to rule out
any medical causes like a thyroid disorder or any other health problems.
Therapy is usually very beneficial for individuals experiencing depression.

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

The three most common therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy,


interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy (Saisan, 2015). There are
many different medications available today. Each one has its own benefits
and side affects. They also will affect one person differently than another.
That is why it is important to give a new medication a long enough time (6
weeks) to see if it helps. If after that time it is not helping or the side affects
are something you cant deal with, try another. There will be some trial and
error to find the medication that works best. Lifestyle changes include
exercise, which increases serotonin, and endorphins, Nutrition, Sleep, Social
support, and stress reduction. Helpguide.org says that, Lifestyle changes
are simple but powerful tools in treating depression, sometimes they might
be all you need (Saisan 2015). Other less traditional treatments include
vitamins and supplements, relaxation techniques or acupuncture. The main
concern is getting help as soon as possible. While seeking help with the
guidance of your doctor try multiple ways to alleviate your depression.
Depression is an individual disease and needs an individual treatment plan.
Prevention
Prevention of depression is hard because mental health professionals dont
know exactly what causes depression. There are many factors that work
together and not everyone is influenced by the same factors. One trial
conducted followed adolescents that were the offspring of depressed parents.
These adolescents were chosen because of the increased risk of depression
due to their parents. They were randomly assigned to a CB prevention program

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

consisting of 8 weekly, 90-minute group session followed by 6 monthly


continuation sessions. The results were that 32% less depressive episodes
occurred with those in the prevention program (Gerber 2009, pg 1). Other
studies suggest that Sertraline prevents relapsing of depression (Caillard 1992,
pg 1). While it is not clear what causes depression steps people can take to
possibly prevent the disease is more on the lifestyle end. Getting adequate
sleep every night will be helpful. Eating well balanced nutritious meals keep
energy up and prevents low sugar mood swings. Exercise boost serotonin levels
as well as endorphins. It also increases blood to the brain, which can create
new brain cells (Saisan 2015). Quitting smoking can help prevent depression.
Having a good social network of positive supportive people and stress
management will also help decrease the likelihood of depression.

Effects of Diet
Diet most definitely effects depression. Mayo Clinic showed that
several studied have found that people who ate a poor quality diet (high in
processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and
high-fat dairy products) had a much higher occurrence of depression
(Depression 2015). Other studies suggest that those who follow a
Mediterranean diet (fruits, vegetables and fish, limiting dairy and meat) had
lower rates of depression (Mayo clinic 2015). There are many foods that have
shown to increase your mood, which in turn decreases depression. These
include: increasing your omega-3 fats, increase you B vitamins, boost your

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

serotonin with amino acids, balance your blood sugar, increase your intake of
chromium, get more sunshine (Fobbester, 2004). The Mental health
foundation quotes, Recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is
essential for our mental health and that a number of mental health
conditions may be influenced by dietary factors (2015). Helping our body feel
better by fueling it with the right kind of foods will only help our moods and
decrease the prevalence of depression. In contrast if we fuel our bodies with
sugar, there has been a direct link between mood and blood sugar balance
(Fobbester, 2004). When sugar is consumed it needs to be converted into
energy. Using up our B vitamins does this. B vitamins have been linked to
neurological development and mental functions. It is also helpful in
improving mood and memory (Hardy 2015). Reducing sugar intake including
sugar food in processed foods as well as bread is important in maintaining
our blood sugar. The more unbalanced our blood sugar the more unbalanced
our mood is (Fobbester, 2004). Having a well-balanced meal high in fruit,
vegetables and fish is most ideal for those experiencing depression.

Effects of Exercise and Activity


Exercise is beneficial for all the population other than those that are
medically restricted. This is true for those diagnosed with depression as well.
As stated above, exercise increases serotonin levels, endorphins, increases
blood flow to the brain, exercise also can take off excess weight gained and
can give an activity to get the depressed person out. Another study

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep

performed by Byrne stated, including exercise in treatment programs . . .


has a number of advantages- it is time and cost effective compared to
psychotherapy and drug treatment, there are no side effects compared with
drug treatment and it is potentially useful as a prophylactic prevention of
future affective episodes (1993). Exercise is another tool that doctors and
patients can easily implement into their lives that will help decrease
depression. Setting goals, even small ones when it comes to exercise can
boost a persons self-esteem and mood. A sense of accomplishment can be
felt when someone works hard to reach an exercise goal. Whether that goal
is to walk for 20 minutes a day or to run a 5K. The act of setting a goal and
following through will help alleviate feelings of depression. Exercise requires
no equipment and is essentially free. Exercise should be implemented into
any depression treatment plan as long as there are no medical restrictions.
Conclusion
Depression is a disease that effects a large amount of the population. It
does not discriminate against anyone. The symptoms and timing is greatly
personal and individual. There is not one treatment that will help everyone
diagnosed with depression. The best recommendation for depression is to
get as educated as possible, try multiple forms of treatment, and be patient
giving the treatments time before deciding it isnt working. Talk with loved
ones about how you feel and what they can do to help. Managing depression
shouldnt be a lonely process. People around you are willing to help as long
as you let them and tell them what you need. There is no way to prevent

Running Head: Depression Runs Deep


depression completely but keeping a strong social network, eating healthy
and exercise are great ways to start. One-day scientist may be able to find
the gene and a cure, but until then try some of this suggestion in this paper.

References

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Anxiety and Other
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Fobbester, D et al., Optimum Nutrition UK survey, October 2004. Available
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Garber J. Depression in children and adolescents: linking risks research and
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Garber J, Clarke GN, Weersing V, et al. Prevention of Depression in At-Risk
Adolescents: A
Randomized Controlled Trial.JAMA. 2009;301(21):2215-2224.
doi:10.1001/jama.2009.788.
Lewinsohn PM, Rohde P, Klein DN, Seeley JR. Natural course of adolescent
major depressive
disorder, I: continuity into young adulthood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc
Psychiatry. 1999;38(1):56-63
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Depression (major depressive disorder). Retrieved March
27, 2015
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http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-az/D/diet/
NCBI. (2015) Depression Definition. Retrieved from

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64063/ on March 27, 2015


Psychiatry. (2015). What is the DSM. Retrieved from
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