Depression can be caused by a wide range of psychological, physical and environmental factors.
Everyone is different, so it’s hard to predict what will trigger it. Often, many of these factors can combine or ‘snowball’ to make your mood worse over time.
Here are just some of reasons that depression can occur:
Thoughts and feelings
Your general mental state can be a key factor in your depression. Being under constant strain can take its toll, so you should see a doctor if you’re struggling with:
Stress - at work or home, dealing with a chronic illness of your own or someone close to you, or a bereavement
Grief - such as the death of a close relative or loss of a treasured possession
Loneliness - for example, being cut off from your friends and family can increase your risk
Your Family History
If an immediate family member, such as a parent, grandparent or sibling, has previously suffered from depression, this increases the chance that you will too.
An imbalance of chemicals in your brain
Different hormones are associated with certain moods, so if there’s a chemical imbalance in your brain, your mood is affected and it could cause depression.
The break-up of a relationship can be very traumatic. You may be faced with a sudden change in your living situation, or feel as though your life has taken a step backwards. If you have children, not seeing them every day can be very difficult.
While we’re on the subject of children, don’t forget that they can be affected by relationships ending too. Young children and teenagers can suffer from depression when their parents split up or divorce.
Your job can have a negative impact on your mental health in a number of ways. A heavy workload or lack of work/life balance can put too much pressure on you and lead to depression.
It may be that you simply don’t like your job, but feel nervous about making a change, or trapped in your current situation.
You may also feel down about the prospect of losing your job, either due to a poor performance review or your company deciding to make cutbacks.
If you’re struggling financially, the prospect of not being able to pay your bills and losing your home can be frightening and could trigger depression.
Being in debt can be very worrying too, and it’s something many people will hide from their friends and family. The pressure of keeping this secret can make depression even more likely.
Looking at other people’s social media profiles may leave you with the feeling that their lives are more successful or enjoyable than yours.
It’s important to remember that this is usually not the case.
Social media offers a highly filtered version of a person’s life and it’s likely that they’re facing many of the same challenges as you. Remember that people only tend to publish things that place them in a positive light!
If you’ve suffered physical, psychological or sexual abuse in the past, it can be tough to talk about. It can also affect crucial areas of your life, such as your relationships with others. Many people don’t address these feelings and over time, this can lead to depression.
Then there’s bullying, which can happen anywhere and affect people of any age. It’s most often associated with children at school, but can just as easily happen in the workplace, or within a social group. Being bullied can erode your confidence and mental strength over time.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of a crime, the trauma of your experience can lead to depression further down the line. This can also happen if you witness a crime first-hand.
Using alcohol or illegal drugs can alter your mental state and trigger depression. If you’re already feeling low, turning to these substances can make your symptoms even worse.
Alcohol is a natural depressant, while drugs can create feelings of paranoia and affect the chemical balance of your brain.
If you regularly exceed the recommended limit of 14 units of alcohol per week, binge drink, or habitually use any drug, this could contribute to your depression and reduce the chance of medication or talking therapy succeeding.
Before you’re prescribed any medication, your doctor will explain the possible side effects to you, including mood swings. In some cases, your medication may initially make your symptoms worse before they start to get better. It’s important that you fully understand what these side effects are before treatment can begin.
These side effects can also happen if you don’t wean yourself off antidepressants properly. Your doctor will help you do this and it’s vital that you listen to their instructions when the time comes to stop taking any medication.
Discovering you have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease, can seriously affect your mental health.
The after effects of illness can also cause depression, for example, if they alter your appearance or prevent you from doing things you previously enjoyed.
Additionally, certain medical conditions have depression as one of their side effects, such as eating disorders, anxiety and addiction.
Severe head or brain injuries
This sort of injury can damage certain areas of your brain and cause depression. You may need specialist treatment to deal with the impact of your injury and adjust to how it has affected your mental health.
NHS - trained and registered doctors
Every one of our doctors is registered with the General Medical Council and can be found on the NHS National Performers List, so you know you are only ever receiving the best possible care and advice.
They are experienced in treating a wide range of conditions, and can help with almost everything your regular GP could in a physical surgery. You can meet some of our doctors here.
Push Doctor also has an in-house Medical team, who support our doctors day in, day out, and enable our doctors to do what they do best. They are also responsible for the ongoing training and development of doctors on our platform.
Push Doctor is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
They are the foremost authority in our industry, assessing health providers' ability to provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care – be they offline or online doctors.
Push Doctor is registered with the CQC under the name 'Square Health', with the registration number 1-3060117803.
Our most recent inspection took place in May 2019, concluding that the service we provide is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led – gaining a 'Good' rating overall. You can read the report in full on our CQC profile.
Same day prescriptions
Our NHS-trained GPs can, if appropriate, issue prescriptions online following a consultation. Once your consultation is complete, our team will search for the closest pharmacy to you which has your medication available. We'll then send you a text when your prescription is ready to collect.
To collect your medication, simply hear to the nominated pharmacy to collect and pay for your prescription. You will need to take a valid form of ID to show the pharmacist when you arrive. This process is almost always done within the same day of your consultation.
Instant fit (sick) notes
Our GPs can send a sick/fit note directly to you if necessary following an online consultation. These can be sent directly by email or first-class post.
Fit notes include recommendations about how and when you'll be able to return to work or education, or whether you're able to return to work with amended duties (e.g no heavy lifting or reduced hours). They can also contain detailed advice about managing your medical issue in the workplace.