Causes of Sudden Depression In Healthy People
Through my experience with abnormal psychology I've learned that depression is often the result of a combination of mental and physiological symptoms. It's often comorbid because of its simultaneous relation to other psychological illnesses, but sometimes depression hits with such sudden force on par with a shocking death.
The unexpected death (car accident, homicide, heart attack, etc.) of a friend, family member, or loved one can be a complete tragedy to those going through it. It becomes worse if they depended on this person for both financial security and to maintain a healthy mental state. So what do you think happens when all of that ends in an instant?
In the worst case scenario the griever will commit suicide because they feel they have nothing left to live for. Suicide is often the result of depression and such an outcome is more common than you might think.
People usually go through an entire grieving process as depicted through the Kubler Ross model. This model deals with the 5 stages of grief that ultimately ends in acceptance, which is the healthy way to handle death. During depression however, the individual doesn't follow that model and they go off in different directions.
An unexpected death could literally take a perky, happy individual and turn them into a wreck. There are cases of people who never leave their homes and stay in bed all day like a recluse during this tragic time. There's nothing wrong with that as long as its temporary but once we approach 2 weeks or greater then it becomes a major concern. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) goes into greater detail regarding symptoms, intensity of grief, and the period of time people are grieving for.
I have yet to meet someone who has never experienced a death either in the family or a friend. If they haven't, then they will eventually and that can be difficult to process. In the best case scenario the person will learn to eventually cope and accept death and they'll move on. However, even those people may enter a sudden period of depression that could be dangerous if not monitored.
- The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief | Psych Central
The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual's own terminal
- DSM-5 Changes: Depression & Depressive Disorders | Psych Central Professional
The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) has a number of important updates and changes made to major depression (also
Imagine you live in a beautiful home, have a nice car, and have all the finer things in life. Now imagine an event like a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood) or a fire that wipes everything out in a matter of seconds to minutes.
What will such a result lead to?
No matter how strong a person is and how upbeat and positive they may seem, a devastating loss like this could immediately send those same people into a depressive state. At one point they had everything they've wanted and in a few short minutes it's all been taken away. The worse part is knowing how much time, work, and effort it took to get that home or car.
I know losing property is not the same as losing a person, but it can still hurt just as bad. We can talk about insurance and the fact that they'll cover your losses but it'll never be the same. A lot of people don't even have insurance or adequate insurance, which only makes this more challenging.
If you'd like to dive deeper, then think about everything inside your home that gets damaged if not gone. All of those pictures, the trophies, and the little mementos we all keep to remind us of our loved ones might completely disappear. It's such an overwhelming situation that it has the potential to take the healthiest person and mentally disable them.
Property damage or loss can cause sudden depression because we essentially lose what we've worked so hard for in an instant, and that's what hurts the most. If you add in the fact that you've lost all those personal belongings/memories, then it only intensifies the sadness and depression.
Lose Your Long Career
I'm not talking about someone who loses a job they've been at for maybe a year. I'm talking about the person who has worked for years at a company, which they loved and struggled to climb the corporate ladder for.
Picture the career you worked at for 15, 20, and 25+ years ending when one day your boss calls you into his/her office and hands you the pink slip. All of the sudden that passion and commitment you had towards your career meant nothing. Everything you worked hard for to support yourself and your family was over.
This is the perfect example when one's wonderful world comes crumbling down in seconds. At that moment it seems like nothing you've done mattered and you didn't matter. If you take all of that in and realize you're not dreaming, then what's going to happen to you?
People love control, they enjoy routine, and they want everything to function. Such a loss can have detrimental effects on you and your family. It could take the healthiest mental state and shove it towards depression. When you feel helpless and hopeless, then it's no wonder why people fall so hard.
Everyone wants stability and most people know bad things can happen, but we're never prepared for them when they do. Sudden depression is sudden because it happens as fast as the tragedy does. Just like the tragedy there are no signs, no warnings, and nothing to help you prepare for them.
End of Long Term Relationship/Marriage
I didn't want to just say marriage because nowadays there's a lot more to it then people who are married. Keep in mind that the focus through these passages is on the long term prospects of your scenarios. I realize that shorter term situations can cause people to become depressed, but it's often because the person was not completely stable to begin with.
I've heard of people falling into a deep depression over a broken relationship that lasted a week or less. If you're suffering from depression over something so short term, then there's something else going on inside that needs to be addressed. Marriage, by the way, could also be a short term thing in case not everyone already knew.
However, losing a relationship (not through death) when they've been together for 10, 20, 30 or more years can cause depression. This kind of sudden depression after a long term relationship is far more normal to experience. We know how awful divorces could be especially if there's children involved, but what it really affects is the person's psyche.
The worst is when you still feel like you're completely in love with someone and the other person falls out of love with you or doesn't find you attractive anymore. It can be such a hit to the heart and ego that depression might seem inevitable. You start to ask yourself why would he/she leave me and why don't they love me anymore.
It's often the why and the how that create a stir in your head and are responsible for the rapid onset of depression. I would always recommend a couple see a counselor or somebody as a last resort, but a lot of times it becomes too little too late.
I mentioned depression may happen with unexpected death but that can also extend to animals. People have become depressed over the loss of their family pets especially if they've been in the family for several years.
Personal health problems or accidents have also caused rapid depression. People who are involved in accidents that cause them to lose their sight, hearing, arms, legs, and other abilities have led to this mental illness. The same holds true if it happens to a close friend or loved one.
Basically any event you can think of that occurs unexpectedly or is sudden can cause rapid depression even in perfectly healthy persons. I said "can" because not everyone will fall into a short term depressive state, but the chances increase greatly if one of those causes occur.
Depression is no laughing matter and has a lot of triggers. I haven't even mentioned subjects such as obesity or bullying that play a role, but I'm focusing on the surprising and quick events that greatly increase the risks of sudden depression. The important thing when you or someone you know is going through this is to get them help or talk to them about it. They need support and comfort because it's a tough, long road ahead.
The last thing anyone would want is a domino effect where an unexpected death causes depression that leads the depressed to commit suicide, which would now affects their loved ones.
Support, love, and care is a must for this debilitating mental illness and it's even more necessary when it happens suddenly, rapidly and unexpectedly. If we learn how to deal with it, then we can help save lives and protect the ones we love.