09-19 Toxicants that trigger depression – Part 2: Pesticides

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Treatment

Toxicants that trigger depression – Part 2: Pesticides

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the Unites States. Various factors, such as genetics, changes in brain chemicals, addiction to various substances and lifestyle have been identified as the factors that may cause depression. Besides, there have been studies that talk about toxicants present in the environment might also be causing depression in people.

Of late, various studies have associated pesticides with the surge in deaths and suicide among farmers. According to the studies, the risk of clinical depression in farmers who are exposed to more amounts of agricultural pesticides increases by 50 percent.

Pesticides are the chemical substances used for protecting crops and field from insects, weeds and other harmful organisms. Also known as crop protection products, pesticides are important in order to ensure good health of the cultivated crops. However, lifetime exposure to the chemicals has resulted in clinical depression in farmers. Additionally, the harm has also been passed on to the consumers of the crops, as it is nearly impossible to wash away the pesticides from the food products.

Pesticides increase risk of depression by 90 percent

As per a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are majorly two kinds of pesticides – organochlorine insecticides and fumigants – which increase the risk of depression by 90 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

The chemical compounds present in pesticides tend to effect the human body adversely. In humans, pesticides are absorbed through skin, eaten along with crops/food products or inhaled.

While the study didn’t deal with in-depth analysis of the process on how pesticides lead to depression,  it definitely inferred that the chemicals in pesticides that are designed to interrupt the nervous system of the insects also pose a similar kind of effect to the human body. This further pushes a person towards depression.

Types of pesticides causing depression

According to various studies conducted to understand the effect of pesticides, there are seven specific types of pesticides that lead to depression – the fumigants aluminum phosphide and ethylene dibromide, the phenoxy herbicide (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy) acetic acid (2,4,5-T), the organochlorine insecticide dieldrin, and the organophosphate insecticides diazinon, malathion and parathion. All these pesticides were found to cause neurological effects in humans.

People exposed to pesticides are inclined to commit suicide

While long exposure to pesticides has been linked to depression, their extended impact is associated with suicide and suicidal attempts. One of the studies conducted in Brazil, titled “Association between pesticide exposure and suicide rates in Brazil,” recorded high suicide rates in areas that were more exposed to pesticide use.

Similarly, another study, titled “Pesticide exposure and suicidal ideation in rural communities in Zhejiang province, China,” conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that surveyed 9,800 people in Zhejiang province of China also revealed that people who stored pesticides in their homes were at a double risk of thinking of suicide.

Road to recovery

Similar to pesticides, there are several other toxicants such as prescription drugs that are present in the environment that cause depression in people. Read about the prescription drugs that lead to depression here.

It is important to understand that depression is a severe mental disorder. Depression is much more than feeling low or sad. Besides causing hinder in everyday functioning, it can also trigger suicidal thoughts and cause suicide. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant about the depressive symptoms and seek medical health immediately.

If you or your loved one is battling depression, the Depression Treatment Centers of California can provide you the information about the best depression treatment facilities in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 or chat online for further assistance. Our representatives can also help you find the best residential treatment centers for depression in California.


Read the first article of the series: Toxicants that trigger depression – Part 1: Prescription drugs

©2020 Depression Treatment Centers of California. All rights reserved.

Call Now Button