6 Surprising Things That Could Be Making You Depressed

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Scientists research depression all the time and in most cases, their findings sound like this: Neurotransmitters blah blah blah brain chemistry blah blah. But all anyone who's ever struggled with depression really wants to know is: What the heck's causing me to feel so ugh?

Lucky for our layperson minds, some recent discoveries have answers we can actually comprehend. (And to say some are downright bizarre is pretty much the truth.)

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Read on for six unexpected things that might be feeding your depression. 

What do you think Grumpy Cat's owner would think of #5? 

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  • Your Gut

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    Serontonin is your body's "feel good" chemical, and people suffering from depression are believed to have low stores of it. But new research shows that as much as 90 percent of serontonin is made outside the brain -- in your gut. That means if your stomach bacteria's out of whack, there's a chance your mood will be, too.

  • Your Meds

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    Feeling down in the dumps? Check your medicine cabinet. The prescription drugs you're taking may be the cause. Some common offenders include anti-seizure drugs, anxiety meds, beta blockers, birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering medication -- even medication that helps you stop smoking.

  • Your Morning Coffee

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    This one is kind of obvious if you think about it -- caffeine keeps you awake and sleep regulates mood. In other words: Too much coffee + Not enough sleep = a Grande Depression Latte you never asked for. No need to quit those trips to Starbucks cold turkey, though. (That could make you feel worse.) Instead, try slowly cutting back.

    More from The Stir: 6 Things Only a Coffee Addict Can Understand

  • Your Facebook Account

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    How do you feel after scrolling through Facebook updates from friends who are on vacation, having fancy dinners, or gushing about their perfect children? If you said "Why, I feel inadequate," you would be...right! According to a University of Houston study, Facebook gives us tons of info about friends that we'd normally be unaware of -- which leads us to compare our own lives to theirs. The result: The more you're on Facebook, the more depressed you may feel.

  • Your Cat

    5

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    Ever been bitten by a cat? Well that "love bite" or whatever you're calling it, raises your chance of depression by a staggering 47 percent. Researchers at University of Michigan have some intriguing theories as to why, which range from toxoplasmosis (a parasite you can get from changing a litter box and which can cause depression) to your cat simply noticing a change in your mental state and biting you because of it. That is so something a cat would do.

  • Your Summer Vacation

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    For some, the short, cold days of winter bring a serious drop in mood. But did you know there's a summer type of Seasonal Affect Disorder, too? People with "summer depression" can feel agitated and have trouble sleeping because of all the light and heat they're exposed to. What can help? For some, it's dark sunglasses and hiding out in cold air-conditioned rooms. (And we're guessing, staying far away from your cat.)

    As always, consult your doctor if you're experiencing symptoms of depression or before starting any new regimen to make sure it's right for you.

    More from The Stir: The Truth Behind Seasonal Depression: How Do You Know If You Have It?

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