Can you die from depression (& how to get better)

In this brief guide, we will discuss “Can you die from Depression” and how to cope with suicidal thoughts.

Can you die from Depression?

Yes, it is possible to die from depression, because when there is severe depression which is left untreated, it can cause a person to take their own life.

It is important to talk to someone immediately if you are having suicidal thoughts or if you know someone who may be at risk. Call a local helpline or go to suicide.org, you can find a vast database of helplines that you can choose from according to the region you are in currently.

When someone asks can you die from depression, it is important to take them seriously.

At the very least, they are curious about the sensitive subject matter and may be misinformed should they not find adequate information; the worst-case scenario is that they are feeling suicidal or severely depressed and they need immediate intervention.

The truth is that while depressive or sad thoughts cannot actually kill you, they can drive you to take your own life, and the World Health Organization actually rates depression as one of the leading causes of death in the current climate.

Causes of Depression

There are many things that can trigger depression even if they don’t necessarily cause it.

It would be wrong to say that a certain thing “Causes” depression, rather it is a combination of psychological, physical, and environmental factors.

It is better to discuss what the risk factors for depression are before we discuss if one can die of depression.

Brain, chemical and hormonal Imbalances

A huge biological cause of depression is known to be the imbalance in the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

Some neurotransmitters, mainly dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, are key factors in the regulation of mood and ascertain when you feel happy or sad.

The biological theory of depression says that having too much or too little of the aforementioned neurotransmitters causes, puts someone at a major risk for depression.

This explanation is considered significant when talking about depression, however, it is still quite unproven.

That said, most antidepressants work towards regulating these neurotransmitters and that has an effect on mood.

Physical Health & Certain Medical Condition

People who have a chronic illness or any other major chronic aches or pains are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, as well as sleep disorders, or anxiety.

Some of these illnesses include chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.

Female Sex Hormones

Statistics show that women experience major depression about twice more often than men do.

This incidence of depressive disorders which has been seen more in the women’s reproductive years leads researchers to believe that female sex hormones may be responsible.

 It has also been seen that women become much more prone to depression during times around the time of their menstrual period, pregnancy, childbirth, and perimenopause, which again suggests that the female sex hormones are most certainly linked to depression.

Genetics

Another significant risk factor is Genetics. If one has any family history of depression, they are more likely to experience it themselves.

According to statistical data, depression is around 40% determined by genetics.

Lifestyle Related Factors

Lifestyle factors that can play a huge role in increasing the risk of depression.

Fortunately, many lifestyle-related risk factors for depression, such as promiscuity or family history, cannot be changed, people can still manage some other lifestyle factors like food and sleep themselves rather well.

Other factors

Seasons have been shown to be extremely related to the risk of depression.

Another major risk factor is poor nutrition and substance abuse.

Stress or a major life change can also bring about a depressive disorder, but if it lasts for a shorter duration is classified as an Adjustment Disorder rather than a Depressive episode.

Grief can be yet another cause of depression, but again, when a severe grief reaction lasts for a shorter duration of time it is classified under an Acute Grief Reaction rather than a depressive episode. This also highlights just how important grief is, that grief felt after a major loss is not classified as depression.

Types of depression and when you can die from depression

Depression is classified according to the symptoms being experienced.

Another factor in the classification of depression is whether there are psychotic symptoms along with the abnormal mood states.

The last thing that features in the classification of mood disorders and depression, in particular, is whether there has ever been a state of Mania, in which case it becomes a Bipolar Mood Disorder rather than just Depression or Mania.

Depression experienced in Bipolar Mood Disorder is much more intense and severe as compared to Unipolar depression, as the presence of mania makes the depression symptoms even more severe.

The main type of depression that someone can die from is Severe Unipolar Depression or Bipolar Mood Disorder.

Symptoms of Severe Depression

·       Sleep problems, sleeping too much or too little. The person may sleep for 18-19 hours at a stretch and barely function in the hours they spend awake.

·       Irritability over the littlest things

·       Anhedonia, or lack of pleasure from activities that the individual once enjoyed

·       Hopelessness, a feeling that the future is bad and nothing good will ever happen

·       Persistent thoughts that the person cannot get rid of with extremely negative content about self and the future

·       Constantly thinking of death or suicide or suicide attempts. In addition, even wishing for death can be considered a symptom of severe depression

·       In some cases, psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, or feeling like one’s thoughts are being controlled/read, may be present

·       Total Inability to take care of oneself, and carrying out day to day tasks such as eating, bathing, or taking care of responsibilities such as homework or job.

Diagnosis of Severe Depression

In order to diagnose depression, you need the help of a professional.

A Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist will talk to you at length, inquiring about lifestyle, family history, your past medical and psychiatric history, what you were like before you started feeling depressed, and so on.

Once this interview is complete they are likely to do some paper and pencil tests that determine the severity and intensity of depression that you may be experiencing.

These tests are painless and non-invasive, and if you answer truthfully and honestly they give the examiner a good idea of what you are feeling.

After this is done the professional will discuss the course of treatment with you.

Treatment options in severe depression

There are several options for people suffering from severe depression.

The first one is Psychopharmacotherapy, which means medicines.

Usually, the medicines given for severe depression call under the broad umbrella of SSRI’s, which are meant to regulate your brain chemistry.

Your Health-care providers may suggest SSRI’s or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

There are some adverse effects to some medication as well, and if you experience those at all you should tell your doctor immediately.

Psychosocial treatments are only effective for mild depression. Someone who is having suicidal thoughts or wondering if they can die from Depression may not benefit from the psychosocial forms of treatment.

Psychotherapy

A psychotherapist is an individual that practices therapy for mental illnesses.

The psychiatrist may refer you to the therapist after prescribing medication so that you may get rid of the symptoms of severe depression completely.

The psychotherapist may offer any one of the various psychological treatments meant for severe depression such as behavioral activation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), or Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Psychoanalysis is another form of therapy that used to be practiced but since that is very time consuming it is rarely practiced for problems like severe depression that can be managed with shorter therapies like cognitive behavior therapy.

Can I live with depression

It would be highly risky and unwise to live with depression, as it rarely gets better on its own.

Once someone starts thinking of taking their own life due to depression it is not a normal grief reaction or transitory phase anymore and needs to be corrected.

If you lack resources there are still some online portals you can look at, which will at least offer you some encouragement and hope to get you by till you can manage to get some professional help.

A comprehensive list of these portals can be found on

 the NHS website.

Do not let your depression be untreated, help can be found easily on the online world, so make sure to reach out when you feel like you might die from depression.

Personality type more prone to depression

A common question when depression is being talked about is which personality type is most prone to depression.

While there is no particular type of people who are more prone to depression than others, there has been some research on what traits might make people more prone.

It has been seen that the Emotionally Unstable Personality Type is more prone to depression than most other personality types.

This personality is also known as Borderline personality and it has been seen that they are also at risk for suicide attempts as well as Intentional self-harm.

This personality type is actually a personality disorder, and when treating someone like this for depression they are also given remediation for their personality traits so that they don’t remain so prone to depression.

In addition, some research has shown that people with Narcissistic personality disorder may also be prone to depression.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed “Can you die from Depression” and how to cope with suicidal thoughts. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQ: Can you die from depression

Can you die of sadness?

It is not possible to die of sadness, but it is possible for the sadness to give way to severe depression and that can lead to suicide or suicidal thoughts.

In addition, there are some cases where prolonged stress from grief can lead to cardiac distress which can also kill someone, however, this is rare.

Does depression cause brain damage?

Depression can cause some brain damage, though it is usually very minimal. Some studies and brain imaging have shown that prolonged depression can lead to changes in brain structure.

Is depression the leading cause of death?

Depression is one of the leading causes of death, above heart disease and diabetes, even.

It causes the person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family and depression can lead to suicide.

What country is most suicidal?

Guyana has the most rates of suicides in the world, followed by Lesotho and Russia.

Can anxiety kill you?

No anxiety cannot kill you, even though panic attacks mimic a heart attack or a sense of doom approaching.

However, the constant state of stress that anxiety induces is very bad for physical as well as mental health so you definitely need to seek help for it.

Does depression cause heart attack?

Depression can worsen heart disease or cause a heart attack in people at risk for heart-related problems.

Depression can increase the risk of a cardiac event such as blood clots or even a heart attack

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/can-depression-kill-you#Health-effects-of-untreated-depression

https://www.webmd.com/depression/warning-signs

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

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