Lesser-Known Depression Triggers

8 Lesser-Known Depression Triggers – These Might Surprise You

Many depression triggers are well-known, for example:

  • trauma
  • grief
  • financial worries
  • unemployment

So in many cases, it’s possible to pinpoint a specific cause. But what if you’re depressed, and there’s no apparent reason? You’ll need to look at other possible triggers.

There are a number of lesser-known depression triggers. Here are some to consider:


Smoking has long been linked with depression. However, it’s something of a chicken-or-egg situation. Does smoking trigger depression? Or are people who are depression-prone more likely to smoke?

Regardless, it’s known that nicotine affects neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This results in higher levels of dopamine and serotonin. This is the same mechanism of action as antidepressants.

This might explain why nicotine is so addictive. It could also account for the mood swings that often come with withdrawal.

Ironically, withdrawal can lead to depression in the short-term. Once withdrawal is complete,  the balance of brain chemicals will improve.

Summer Sadness

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or “winter blues”, is most commonly associated with the autumn and winter months. But for a small percentage of sufferers, this type of depression strikes in the summer.

Summer depression happens when the body has a hard time adjusting to the new season. This could be due to imbalances in brain chemistry, or the hormone melatonin.

Facebook Overload

Believe it or not, spending too much time on social media has been linked to depression. This is especially so with children and teenagers. It’s even been given a name –  “Facebook depression”.

Those who spend too much time online have a higher risk of moderate to severe depression. But it’s another chicken-or-egg situation.

Does excessive internet use trigger depression? Or are people who are depression-prone more likely to engage in excessive internet use?

Many social media addicts struggle with real-life human interaction. They also tend to be loners who lack companionship. And, they often have an unrealistic view of the world. People like this tend to have a higher risk of depression anyway.

Where You Live

People living in urban areas have a higher risk of mood disorders than those in the countryside.

City dwellers have more activity in the part of the brain that regulates stress. And higher levels of stress can lead to mental illness.

Depression rates also vary by country. Affluent nations have higher rates of depression than poor ones.

Even altitude may play a role. Apparently, suicide risk increases with altitude.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. It produces a hormone known as thyroxin. When not enough is produced, it results in hypothyroidism.

Depression is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. That’s because one of its functions is to act as a neurotransmitter and regulate serotonin levels.

If you are depressed, and you experience new symptoms, such as:

  • cold sensitivity
  • constipation
  • fatigue

. . . talk to your doctor. A thyroid test may be in order.

Fortunately, hypothyroidism can treated with medication.

Poor Sleep Habits

It’s well-known that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability. But it can also increase the risk of depression.

If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you don’t have enough time to replenish brain cells. Your brain won’t function as well, and this could lead to depression.

End of a TV Series or Movie

When something important comes to an end, it can trigger depression in some people. For example:

  • moving house
  • relationship breakup
  • job loss

Not surprising, really. What is surprising is that some people get depressed over something very trivial. In particular, when a movie or TV series ends.

Take, for example, the reaction of some fans after watching the movie “Avatar”. Some said they felt depressed and even suicidal afterwards. Apparently it was because the fictional world in the movie wasn’t real. There was a similar reaction after the last Harry Potter movie.

There are two reasons for these reactions:

  • people experience distress if they’re watching mainly for companionship
  • they get swept up in a narrative and forget about real life and their own problems

Prescription Medication

Depression is a side effect of certain prescription medications.

For example:

  • Accutane and its generic version (isotretinoin) – prescribed for severe acne
  • Valium – prescribed for insomnia and anxiety
  • Xanax – prescribed for insomnia and anxiety
  • Lopressor – prescribed for high blood pressure
  • Lipitor – prescribed for high cholesterol
  • Premarin – prescribed for menopause

When you take medication, it’s important to read the leaflet. This will tell you about any possible side effects. If you think your medication might be causing your depression, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist.

Birth Control Pills

Just like any other medication, birth control pills can have side effects.

Oral contraceptives contain a synthetic version of  the hormone progesterone. This can  lead to depression in some women. However, the reason for this is unknown. Not surprisingly, women with a history of depression are more at risk.

Some women have to stop taking birth control pills for this reason.


I’ve shared with you these lesser-known depression triggers::

  • smoking
  • summer sadness
  • Facebook overload
  • where you live
  • thyroid disease
  • poor sleep habits
  • prescription medication
  • birth control pills

If you’re depressed and you don’t know why, this list might help you put your finger on it.

You may already know what caused your depression. The reason may not be on the list. However, one or more of these triggers may still be contributing to your depression. It might help you to make some changes that will alleviate your symptoms.

Did you find this post useful? Are there any triggers you think I should have included? Let me know in the comments section below . . .

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