Depression is a general term for several disorders involving a “low” or sad mood. These disorders involve the mood-regulating parts of the brain and affect a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Depression is common. Presently, almost 16 million Americans have a depressive disorder.1 Approximately 17 percent of U.S. adults will experience depressive symptoms at some time in their lives.2
Many factors can contribute to depression, and any one particular “cause” is impossible to identify. Factors that can contribute to the development of depression include genes, changes in brain chemistry, and experiencing stressful life events.
Moreover, depression can be a side effect of certain medicines. A few of the more common medications that have been linked to depressive symptoms in some people include:
- Statins (cholesterol medications)
- Beta-blockers (such as propranolol, for high blood pressure or after a heart attack)
- Calcium channel blockers (for high blood pressure and heart disease)
- Estrogen replacement
- Anxiety medications (such as lorazepam or clonazepam)
- Opiate pain medications (such as codeine, hydromorphone, or oxycodone)
- Some antibiotics (for instance, ciprofloxacin)
- Anticonvulsants (including phenobarbital)
- National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression