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External Causes For Depression?  
User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1507 times:


This question might strike you as strange, and please only reply if you know what you're talking about. If your advice is to go to a pub and parties, do yourself and me a favour and don't reply. The question is whether there are any external factors that can cause depression. I am asking because we found out, somewhat disturbingly, that all three of us (in our flat) have had weird moodswings and two of us had extreme depression during the past week. (especially around the weekend - despite having been to parties in my flatmate's case) The seriously worrying bit is that there appeared to be no reason or cause for this for any of us.

Funnily enough, our Natural Gas detector sounded its alarm on Wednesday night, and when plugging it out we noticed that the Carbon Monoxide detector was indicating heightened (but not yet toxic) levels of CO in our flat. (It has a red light that flashes when it detects CO, and when it gets toxic an alarm is sounded). To be honest, I believe that the two things are just getting old (I bought them a year ago for GBP 30 each) and that it's false alarms. To be safe I called British Gas (Thursday morning), who immediately contacted Transco whose servicement switched off the gas supply to our flat. (They tested the pipes, found that they were not leaking, but they are not able to test the appliances, and they do not test for CO) We're currently waiting for someone to test the appliances for any emissions.

The question is, could a very low dosage of CO for several days cause this depression? (It's not as if we would have noticed a small flashing light in the kitchen) If it isn't that, could there be another external common cause? (The only other thing strange about the week in question that comes to mind is that the hot water in our bath/shower wasn't working, but that cannot cause depression, can it?) Let's just say it is extremely scary to find yourself being depressed and devastated, unable to leave your room, without having even a vague idea why, and even more so if your flatmates have been suffering the same at the same time. (2 people sitting around in their respective rooms, each depressed out of their wits, finding out about the other's depressions only days later, and the third running around frantic with moodswings...... sounds really sad, doesn't it?)

Anyway, any advice would be appreciated....



PS: I only write this because for the first time ever I found myself depressed without a clue why. Usually, when I get depressed, I know precisely why, and how it started, and they don't often last for two and a half days in a row, nonstop, either...

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1459 times:

Cabon Monoxide can cause drowsiness and stuff. Maybe that is leading to it?

Check this out: http://www.freenet.msp.mn.us/people/guestb/pubed/cofaq.html

Take it from me, if you have problems, just forget about them, trying to solve them will only make your life harder.

Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1458 times:

Winter is coming.. that normally gets people depressed.

Maybe i should leave off the CO2 as well..

User currently offlineRyanb741 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 3222 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 1451 times:

Carbon Monoxide could cause lethargy. The changing weather often leads to mood changes. I find it extremely difficult to feel cheerful on a grey London day, so that is another cause.

I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1444 times:

I'm pretty positive it was not the weather. Last weekend was extraordinarily sunny.....

Thanks for the thoughts anyway



User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1442 times:

It's proven that you get depressed when you have a hangover, could it be that?

User currently offlineTurbolet From Cape Verde, joined Nov 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1435 times:

Tell me about it... it gets dark at around five o' clock here now and it's rained a lot yesterday, hail as big as bullets started falling, wind is blowing, sea is rough, it's cold everywhere...
...and the worse is still to come  Sad.
Damn winter!

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1431 times:

Staffan: Well, certainly not in my case, as I don't drink....

Turbolet: Yeah, it's getting dark at 4:30pm here, too. And it's always cold. But fortunately it was a sunny week, so I somehow don't believe that the weather is the cause...

NB: Also got a bit of a very mild constant feeling of pressure in my head (sort of like a very mild headache) for most of that time...

Cheers anyway for the ideas.



User currently offlineDragogoalie From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 1220 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

Women, they can be a source of depression  Big grin they are evil (but I still like them...)


Formerly known as Jap. Srsly. AUSTRALIA: 2 days!
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Reply 9, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

On a separate, but related note, does anyone know why that the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas has more suicides than the entire rest of the year?

User currently offlineSophieMaltese From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 2064 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1409 times:

Well, I do know that Carbon Monoxide can cause serious problems, even death. I know a lady who didn't know she was being continually exposed to it and they almost gave her a spinal tap because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She slept for hours and was having all kinds of problems. Get it fixed right away and don't worry about the depression unless it keeps happening. I have also noticed though that sometimes when I'm having an awful day, so is everybody else. Guess it could be weather or moon patterns, who knows. Right now I know I'm under extreme stress so that's why I'm feeling kinda dumpy.

User currently offlineSA-JET From South Africa, joined exactly 16 years ago today! , 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1405 times:

Ikarus, not so much advise, just some academic background info.
Depression is categorised as a mood disorder by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) Depression is categorised into 2 sections: 1) major depressive disorder-which can last for several weeks or months, and dysthymic disorder-depressive symptoms that are not so severe. The DSM list the following symptoms for a major depressive disorder.
1)loss of interest or pleasure
2)eating and weight disturbances
3)sleep disturbances. This is a good indication, either waking up 2 to 3 hours before usually, difficulty falling asleep/insomnia
4)psychomotor changes-extreme restlesness and agitation, but behaviour and reactions may also be slowed down
5)loss of energy
6)feelings of worthlessness or guilt
7)difficulties with concentration or decesion-making
8)recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Not all of the above have to be present to be diagnosed with depression.
Depression can also be triggered, and is linked to chemical imbalances in the human body related to things called neurotransmitters. Two neurotransmitters that are important in studying depression and medicating it are: serotonin and noradrenaline. The first plays an important role in various forms of behaviour-deficiencies in serotonin have been associated with depression, insomnia and aggression (as a side note: LSD blocks the release and functioning of serotonin, leading scientists to hypothesise that a lack of produces hallucinations-psychotic patients such as schizophrenics have low serotonin levels-which could explain their hallucinations)
Noradrenaline is involved in learning, memory, eating behaviour and mood-which could lead to depression. Anti-depressants boost the neurotransmitter levels, making treatment easier by way of counselling.
All three flatmates becoming depressed at once? Possible, but sounds unlikely, I'm sure it has to do with the gas, as other people here have mentioned, maybe you can go to your GP, have him/her take some blood and have it tested.
If it really is depression due to emotional factors-PLEASE deal with it ASAP. Deciding to see a clinical psychologist is not easy, and some stigma is attached to it. Many people will advise you against it-making remarks such as "they're all quaks." Remember, those people saying such things probably do so because they themselves have problems, but are rationalising their choice not to deal with it.
Professional advise and therapy will provide you with the tools to deal with whatever is troubling you (remember: psychologists don't make your problems go away-they help and guide you through the process of helping yourself-this is something many people fail to realise, thus blaming the shrink for the failed therapy)
DON'T grab the bottle-it NEVER helps.
Either way, I hope you are feeling much better, hope all the aboce is not too much academic dribble? My training is still only theory based, but call me again in a few years!!!  Smile

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (14 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1393 times:

Well, thanks for all the info, SA-JET!

So let's hope it was the gas and they find out about it and repair it. In general, I recognize some of the symptoms you describe, but that particular weekend was just way out of proportion....



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