- What are the symptoms of depression?
- What are the different types of depression?
- Other disorders that cause the symptoms of depression
- What causes depression?
- What are the risk factors and complications for depression?
- How is depression diagnosed?
- How is depression treated?
- Coping with or supporting someone with depression
- Prevention and outlook for depression
- Some more information on depression
What causes depression?
Depression is thought to have a number of possible causes. One such cause can be trauma experienced in early childhood. This is due to the body reacting to stressful and fearful situations adversely. Another cause of depression may be genetics and the condition has been known to be inherited, making you more likely to develop depression if a parent or family member has it.
However, the exact cause of the condition is not yet known. As with several mental conditions, the cause may have a number of contributing factors, these include:
- Biological changes – Those who are diagnosed with depression have been found to have biological and physical differences in their brain. These changes in the brain and their impact on the condition are not yet certain, however, they do aid in pinpointing the cause of the condition later on in the diagnostic process.
- Brain chemistry – There are neurotransmitters found in the brain that are responsible for relaying messages. These have been found to play a role in the development of depression. Recently, there has been research done that shows that changes in the functioning of these neurotransmitters affecting how they interact with the neurocircuits, which are responsible for maintaining one’s mood stability, have an impact on the development of depression and the treatment thereof.
- Hormones – If there are changes in the balance of hormones in the body, these may cause or trigger depression. Changes in hormones can often result from being pregnant, having thyroid issues and going through menopause, amongst a number of other health problems and conditions.
- Inherited traits (genes) – As stated, depression is commonly seen in those who have someone in their family who has been diagnosed with the condition. There is still research being done to find the exact genes responsible for the development of the condition.
The following are more specific causes of depression:
- Suffering from abuse – This can include emotional, physical or sexual abuse that happened in the past. This has been known to increase one’s vulnerability to depression developing.
- Taking certain medications – There are a large number of drugs such as the antiviral drug interferon-alpha and isotretinoin (Accutane) that is used for the treatment of acne, that are known to increase the risk of depression.
- Experiencing personal disputes or conflict – Experiencing these with a friend or loved one may spark depression in someone who is genetically vulnerable to the condition.
- Suffering from the death or loss of a loved one – Grief and sadness that are associated with the loss or death of someone close to one has been known to increase the risk of depression.
- Going through a major event – Graduating, starting a new job, getting married, getting divorced, losing a job, retiring or having a baby may be stressful situations for some that can lead to depression. However, to be diagnosed with clinical depression is more than a normal response to situations deemed stressful in life and involves persistent symptoms over an extended period that do not resolve on their own or with time.
- Having personal issues – Being isolated, having a mental illness or being bullied may contribute to the development of depression.