The Diversity of Depression

Depression is a complex disease with multiple contributing factors. The diagnostic criteria for depression include:

  • Depressed or irritable mood
  • Decreased interest in pleasurable activities and ability to experience pleasure
  • Significant weight gain or loss (>5% change in a month)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
    (Berton O, et al. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006)

Chances are that you have felt several of the above criteria but yet you may not have associated it with depression.

This is because depression is a broad term that may affect one person differently to the next, along with having a diverse range of possible causations.

Below is a list of some of the factors that can lead to depression and apathy:

  • Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Abuse
  • Post-natal depression
  • Adverse childhood exposure
  • Lack of safety
  • Economic struggles
  • Autoimmunity
  • Social isolation
  • Heartbreak
  • Social media
  • Lack of purpose
  • S.A.D – Seasonal Affective Disorder (Vitamin D deficiency)
  • Mold exposure
  • Anaemia
  • Sex hormone imbalances (Low/high oestrogen, low testosterone)
  • Hypo/hyper thyroidism
  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Chronic illness
  • Genetic traits
  • Methylation issues
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Parasites
  • Nutrient deficiencies (B6, etc)
  • Nutrient excess
  • Artificial light exposure
  • Poor sleep
  • Mitochondrial dysfunctions
  • Poor gut health
  • Gut/brain axis inflammation
  • Cytokine model of depression
  • Medication
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances
  • Lyme
  • Toxic and ambivalent relationships

Each reason, being so unique, may require a completely different approach for therapy from the next.

This reverberates a quote of William Osler, stating ‘It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has’. Unfortunately, society generally neglects the beauty of individuality whilst overlooking the crucial interplay and synergy from the multifactorial systems essential for optimal function within our body.