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What Are Some Causes Of Depression

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What Causes Depression? | Could It Be A Symptom Of Another Condition?

Big changes in your life, like bereavement, losing a job, or even having a baby, can cause symptoms of depression. You’re also more likely to experience depression if you have a family history of depression. However, it’s also possible to become depressed without there being an obvious reason.

You can learn more about depression causes here.

Early Losses And Trauma

Certain events can have lasting physical, as well as emotional, consequences. Researchers have found that early losses and emotional trauma may leave individuals more vulnerable to depression later in life.

Profound early losses, such as the death of a parent or the withdrawal of a loved one’s affection, may resonate throughout life, eventually expressing themselves as depression. When an individual is unaware of the wellspring of his or her illness, he or she can’t easily move past the depression. Moreover, unless the person gains a conscious understanding of the source of the condition, later losses or disappointments may trigger its return.

Traumas may also be indelibly etched on the psyche. A small but intriguing study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that women who were abused physically or sexually as children had more extreme stress responses than women who had not been abused. The women had higher levels of the stress hormones ACTH and cortisol, and their hearts beat faster when they performed stressful tasks, such as working out mathematical equations or speaking in front of an audience.

What Foods Help Ease Depression

While no specific diet has been proven to relieve depression, a healthy diet can help you feel your best physically and mentally. Certain foods may be linked to brain health and support for memory, alertness, and mood. Examples include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids , antioxidants , and nutrients like choline . Always talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes.

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Can Depression Be Prevented

You can help prevent depression by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular self-care activities such as exercise, meditation and yoga.

If youve had depression before, you may be more likely to experience it again. If you have depression symptoms, get help. Care can help you feel better sooner.

Some Causes Of Depression

The 9 Most Common Causes of Depression

ByJean W Taylor | Submitted On December 08, 2009

The causes of depression are many and varied. They depend upon the individual and his particular life experiences. It would seem that anything and everything can be the trigger. However, these events do not set off the chain of circumstances leading to depression in everyone. Something of the personality and make up of the person plus his environment and lifestyle.

So what are these triggers? Some of them involve the following: illness, redundancy, divorce, bereavement, stressful job, debt. All these can set some people reeling. These causes can be divided into three main groups:


The levels of hormones/chemicals in the brain vary from time to time but generally keep within a workable band width. However, if this balance is upset then mood change is experienced. We all have mood changes but depression is extreme mood change. It is most clearly seen in some women and dependent upon menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause. These mood swings are accepted as normal within certain limits.

Serious medical conditions can contribute to depression due to the stress they engender and also because the patient is in a low state. Depression will also make the physical illness worse due to the weakening of the immune system and the inability to bear pain.



This is the area which is upset by life events leading to continuous low mood, loss of self esteem and feelings of hopelessness and despair.

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What Are The Causes Of Depression

People usually associate depression with trauma. However, adverse events arent its only cause. It has other triggers.

1. Genetics

First of all, studies have linked genes to depression, though the inheritance pattern isnt well-defined. That said, they prove that people who have parents with depression have twice the risk of developing the condition than those who dont.

2. Imbalance of brain chemistry

Depression occurs when the neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation become imbalanced. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that help different areas of the brain communicate with each other. When certain neurotransmitters are in short supply, this may lead to the symptoms we recognize as clinical depression.

These neurotransmitters are chemical substances that enable different parts of the brain to communicate. Depression sets in when they are lacking.

3. Female Sex Hormones

Many studies, including this one, document that twice as many women suffer from depression as men. They are prone to it because their hormones are in constant flux, particularly during their menstrual cycles. Moreover, their risk of depression declines after they go through menopause.

4. Circadian Rhythm Disturbance

Also, a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder happens because of a disruption in the bodys circadian rhythm.

5. Poor Nutrition

6. Poor Physical Health

7. Drugs

8. Stress

9. Grief and Loss

How Do Thinking Styles Influence Depression

Brooding over mistakes or unpleasant experiences, jumping to catastrophic conclusions from one or two setbacks, overgeneralizing from limited evidenceall are errors of thinking, or cognitive distortions, strongly linked to depression.

Such thinking mires the brain in negativity and, if unchecked, breed self-doubt and hopelessness. Whats more, studies show that negative thinking styles such as catastrophizing actually change physiology. Researchers have found that they enhance reactivity to painful stimulation and raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol and of pro-inflammatory agents in the blood. The inflammatory response brings on behavioral changes commonly associated with both sickness and depressionfatigue, slow reaction time, cognitive sluggishness, and loss of appetite.

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Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Depression doesnt just affect the mind it also affects the body. Some of the physical effects include erratic sleep habits, loss of appetite , constant fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and back pain. Its easy to dismiss these symptoms as stemming from another condition, but they are often because of depression.

Ways You Can Look After Yourself

Depression – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.

  • Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
  • Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
  • Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
  • Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
  • Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
  • Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.

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Different Types Of Depression

There are different types of depression, and there are some conditions where depression is a symptom. These conditions include:

  • Bipolar disorder people with bipolar disorder, which is also known as “manic depression”, experience times of depression, where the symptoms are similar to clinical depression. They also go through phases when they have excessively high moods . Bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour like unsafe sex, spending sprees and gambling.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is also called “winter depression”. It’s depression that is related to weather, usually winter, so it happens seasonally.
  • Postnatal depression happens to some women after they’ve had a baby. It’s treated similarly to other types of depression, with antidepressant medication and talking therapy.

Learn more about how depression is diagnosed here.

How To Cope With Severe Depression

Its challenging to ride an emotional roller coaster, but these tips will make it manageable.

1. Dont avoid your fears

Dont avoid situations or people because theyre difficult. Its tempting to avoid talking to others when you feel low. Facing them will make life more manageable than it would be otherwise.

2. Reduce your alcohol intake

Also, alcohol can mean trouble. You may turn to drink as a way to deal with problems, but it may add to your depression.

3. Eat healthily

You may not feel like eating when youre depressed, and lose too much weight. Conversely, if you find comfort in food, you may become overweight. Eat a balanced diet of meat, fruits, and vegetables.

4. Have a routine

People may develop poor sleep patterns when they feel low. Follow a schedule as much as possible. Not having one may affect your sleep and appetite.

5. Seek help

Get help if your moodiness persists after a few weeks. Psychological therapy and safe antidepressants usually reduce their effects. You can refer yourself for psychological counseling if you feel your condition worsening. Natural methods may ease the blues as well.

In all, severe depression may seem like a deep hole, but you can climb out of it with effort and determination.

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Are There Risk Factors For Depression

While genetics is believed to confer some susceptibility, there is no single gene or set of genes implicated so far, it appears that a very large number of geneslikely modifiable by diet or behavioreach contributes a very tiny degree of vulnerability that could precipitate depression under conditions of stress. People can also be at risk of depression because of their personality attributes, particularly if they have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative. Of the Big Five personality dimensions, the one most consistently associated with depression susceptibility is the trait of neuroticism. It denotes the degree to which the negative affect system is readily activated. People high in trait neuroticism are inclined to find experiences distressing, to worry, and to doubt themselves disproportionate to the circumstances they are in. In addition, studies indicate that women are at especially high risk for depression after divorce and men are at high risk following following financial, occupational, or legal problems.

Mild And Moderate Depression

Clinical Depression: Symptoms, Causes &  Treatment

These are the most common types. More than simply feeling blue, the symptoms of mild depression can interfere with your daily life, robbing you of joy and motivation. Those symptoms become amplified in moderate depression and can lead to a decline in confidence and self-esteem.

Recurrent, mild depression

Dysthymia is a type of chronic low-grade depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood.

  • The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time .
  • Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as double depression.
  • If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like youve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is just the way you are.

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Seek Support For Symptoms Of Depression

Depression is often not recognised and can go on for months or even years if left untreated. Its important to seek support as early as possible, as the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they can recover.

Untreated depression can have many negative effects on a persons life, including serious relationship and family problems, difficulty finding and holding down a job, and drug and alcohol problems.

There is no one proven way that people recover from depression. However, there is a range of effective treatments and health professionals who can help people on the road to recovery.

There are also many things that people with depression can do for themselves to help them recover and stay well. The important thing is to find the right treatment and the right health professional for a persons needs.

Comparison With The Great Recession

The worldwide economic decline after 2008 has been compared to the 1930s.

The causes of the Great Recession seem similar to the Great Depression, but significant differences exist. The previous chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, had extensively studied the Great Depression as part of his doctoral work at MIT, and implemented policies to manipulate the money supply and interest rates in ways that were not done in the 1930s. Bernanke’s policies will undoubtedly be analyzed and scrutinized in the years to come, as economists debate the wisdom of his choices. Generally speaking, the recovery of the world’s financial systems tended to be quicker during the Great Depression of the 1930s as opposed to the late-2000s recession.

1928 and 1929 were the times in the 20th century that the wealth gap reached such skewed extremes half the unemployed had been out of work for over six months, something that was not repeated until the late-2000s recession. 2007 and 2008 eventually saw the world reach new levels of wealth gap inequality that rivalled the years of 1928 and 1929.

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Biology: Depression Causes In The Body

Medical conditions and the medications use to treat them can be causes of depression. Serious, chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and Parkinsons disease can lead to depression or worsen existing depression.

Living with chronic pain, worry about poor health and its limitations, and managing serious illnesses on a daily basis takes its toll on mental health. The impact of medical conditions and reacting to them negatively long-term can be a significant cause of depression.

Certain medications can also play a role in the development of depression. Side effects can be numerous and dangerous, and they have been implicated in depression.

Other Causes Of Depression

Depression definition, cause, clinical features, treatment

There are a number of things that can lead to developing depression.

  • Stressful events big changes in your life, like bereavement, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, can be difficult to deal with. When these things happen, it’s important to keep seeing friends and family instead of trying to deal with problems alone this increases your risk of developing depression.
  • Giving birth pregnancy and birth can make some people vulnerable to depression. Postnatal depression can happen as the result of physical changes, hormonal changes, and the responsibility of taking care of a new baby.
  • Loneliness your risk of depression gets higher if you aren’t in contact or spending time with family and friends.
  • Personality some personality traits can put you at a higher risk of developing depression. These include low-self esteem or a habit of criticising yourself too much. These personality traits can come from your genes, which you get from your parents, or they can be as a result of experiences in your early life.
  • Family history it’s more likely for someone to develop depression if a family member, like a sibling or parent, has experienced it before.

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Family History & Genetics

A family history of depression is another significant risk factor. You are more likely to experience symptoms of depression if others in your family also have depression or another type of mood disorder. Estimates suggest that depression is approximately 40% determined by genetics.

Twin, adoption, and family studies have linked depression to genetics. While studies suggest that there is a strong genetic component, researchers are not yet certain about all the genetic risk factors for depression.

Researchers have found that having a parent and grandparent with depression doubles the risk of depression.

It is still unclear exactly which genes play a role in depression and other mood disorders, but researchers do know that there are many different genes that can play a role. By better understanding how they function, gene researchers hope to be able to create more effective treatments.

It is important to remember that no single cause of depression acts in isolation. Genetic factors may be a major risk factor, but scientists also believe that genes and the environment interact to control exactly how these genes are expressed.

There’s No One Reason For Depression

Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed. Some of it is biology things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones. Some is environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face. And some is personality, like how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves. All these things can help shape whether or not a person becomes depressed.


Research shows that depression runs in families. Some people inherit genes that contribute to depression. But not everyone who has a family member with depression will develop it too. And many people with no family history of depression still get depressed. So genes are one factor, but they aren’t the only reason for depression.

Brain Chemistry

Chemicals called neurotransmitters help send messages between nerve cells in the brain. Some neurotransmitters regulate mood. When a person is depressed, these neurotransmitters might be in low supply or not effective enough.

Genes and brain chemistry can be connected: Having the genes for depression may make a person more likely to have the neurotransmitter problem that is part of depression.

Stress, Health, and Hormones

Things like stress, using alcohol or drugs, and hormone changes also affect the brain’s delicate chemistry and mood.

Getting enough sleep and regular exercise often has a positive effect on neurotransmitter activity and mood.

Daylight and Seasons

Life Events

Family and Social Environment

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