Why Am I Feeling Depressed? Science-Backed Answers

Feeling down? Out of sorts? Or is it something more? Depression happens to over 300 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization. They also list it as the top cause of ill health globally.

But perhaps more concerning to you is why you are feeling this way. The first thing to know is that depression is a condition with effective methods of treatment. But the source of depression differs depending on the person and circumstance. Figuring out the source is vital to leading you toward effective treatments and help.

Don’t know why you are battling with overwhelming sadness? Consider the following medically recognized causes of depression.

Trauma or injury.

Stress-related life events, such as trauma or catastrophic injury received as a child can tax one’s mental and emotional stores. This can cause the sufferer to be at high risk of depression in later years. Studies have shown a consistent correlation between childhood trauma and adult depression.

Researchers believe that when childhood trauma occurs, the developing brain loses cognitive flexibility. This results in brains that can become stuck in negative loops that are less able to roll with later life events.

Counseling and therapy are often effective at helping sufferers find coping strategies. Which go on to lessen the severity of the depressive episodes or curbing them completely.

Certain medications.

The side effects of some medications can cause feelings of extreme sadness. Birth control pills and some RX medications contain warnings of possible depressive episodes. Specific prescriptions that come with a depression warning, include Valium, Xanax, and Accutane. The majority of those prescribed such medications will not suffer from depression over taking these pills. However, those who do run a risk of depression include individuals who have a history of the illness, whether in their personal life or in their family.

Always read warning notices that are given with your prescription. And check with your doctor if you feel a medication might put you at risk of depression.

Too much Internet.

In a study conducted in 2010, researchers found that those who spent a lot of time online were susceptible to depression. But it wasn’t just anyone who spent a lot of time online. The study authors narrowed the profile to those who had developed what could be termed a compulsive Internet habit. And who used online interactions to replace daily interactions with real people.

Mental health experts caution against using social media as one’s sole socializing medium. The connection one has when face to face with a person is priceless. With countless health benefits to match. If you catch yourself turning to time online to ease feelings of loneliness, call up a friend or go out and meet people.

Not enough sleep.

In 2017, UK researchers announced that difficulty sleeping can lead to or worsen depression in sufferers. Other mental ailments that stem from sleep deprivation include paranoia, hallucinations, and anxiety. They additionally found that helping individuals get more rest at night eased symptoms of depression.

This is the most recent in many studies conducted on the topic. But for some time, medical health professionals have known of the connection between one’s mood and one’s sleep. It’s hard for the average person not to miss the connection. Many of us are familiar with a loved one who turns into a grouch when they don’t get their beauty sleep. This cycle is magnified for a person who has chronic sleep issues, such as insomnia.

What is not so clear is figuring out which comes first. Are people depressed and so they find it hard to sleep? Or does the depression come after too many nights struggling with sleep that remains elusive? There’s evidence to support both theories. Sleep disruption is a typical symptom of depression. And insomniacs are at risk of developing depression.
For those who suffer from sleep deprivation, visit a doctor for help. Sleep medicines, supplements, and therapies exist that can help kickstart a better sleep cycle for you.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cause for 5 percent of depression in Americans. Medlineplus.gov notes that this disorder manifests as a type of depression, which often appears when seasons change.

Scientists believe the underlying cause has to do with the disruption of our circadian rhythm due to shorter or longer days. This interruption in our sleep cycle, as well as less sunlight in the winter, can lead to an imbalance of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical.

Effective treatments include light therapy, talk sessions, and antidepressant medicine.