Unraveling The Causes Of Depression

in Understanding Depression

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There are many factors that contribute to a diagnosis of depression. Because it is such a complicated condition, it is difficult to determine the actual causes of depression.

Depression is not like a cold that is caused by a particular virus. There are many causes, and in most cases, more than one cause contributes to the development of the condition.

While we cannot say exactly what causes depression in any one person, we can list a number of depression causes that appear to contribute to the odds that a person will become depressed.

For example, some people have a biological predisposition to the illness.

However, many cases of biological depression are triggered by another cause, and not everyone who is depressed has a biological illness.

Though it is very difficult to determine what causes depression in general, it is possible to help an individual person determine why he or she is depressed.

The first step is to look at the different types of depression.

1. Biological Depression

As mentioned, some cases of depression are biological. In these cases, a person has low levels of neurotransmitters, chemicals that send messages to the brain to regulate mood and emotions.

In biological depression, the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and/or dopamine become depleted or unavailable, and the nervous system responds with symptoms of depression.

There is often a downward spiral in cases of biological depression because low levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters affect behavior and thinking, which in turn depletes neurotransmitter levels even further.

It is possible that this can also happen in reverse.

That is, a non-biological cause of depression may result in the depletion of neurotransmitters, which causes the depression to become a medical condition over time.

In most cases of biological depression, medication is needed, at least temporarily, to rebalance levels of neurotransmitters.

2. Developmental Depression

This type of depression is rooted in difficult or traumatic early experiences, such as being abused, abandoned or neglected as a child.

People with developmental depression were not given the foundation in childhood that allowed them to grow up and become happy, confident adults.

They may live with a sense of sadness and loss in adulthood and are often not able to set and reach goals or feel confident and secure.

3. Situational Depression

As the name suggests, this type of depression is triggered by a particular situation, such as the death of a loved one, job loss or a serious illness.

While everyone feels down when bad things happen, situational depression can become full-blown clinical depression when it occurs in someone with a biological predisposition to the illness or when a person does not have the coping skills necessary to recover from a stressful situation in a reasonable amount of time.

4. Causes Of Major Depression

People with severe depression symptoms are often given a diagnosis of “major depression.”

This is the medical name for a serious form of depression that meets specific criteria, including loss of interest or pleasure, sadness and severe fatigue.

People with major clinical depression have symptoms that interfere with their ability to function, and the condition almost always requires professional, medical help.

The causes of major depression can be the same as the causes of less severe depression, but biology is likely to play a key role in causing this debilitating condition.

Major depression can also be triggered by loss, and it may also be tied to unmet emotional needs or childhood traumas.

It is reasonable to believe that the more depression causes a person experiences, the more likely he or she is to have at least one episode of major depression.

Unraveling Depression’s Cause

Sometimes it is not until a person finds the best way to treat his or her depression that the cause of that depression becomes clear.

For example, many treatments may be attempted but the depression does not lift until the patient is put on medication. In such a case, the depression is most likely biological.

If behavioral therapy helps, the depression was probably caused in large part by negative thought patterns and coping mechanisms, perhaps developed in childhood.

If depression subsides after a person finds a new, better job or recovering from a long illness, the depression was probably situational.

In most cases, however, the causes of depression can only be assumed, not pinpointed with complete certainty.

While knowing or suspecting the reasons for the condition can be somewhat helpful in deciding which treatments to attempt, knowing the causes of depression is not as important as finding treatments that work.

Depression bookEnd Your Depression can help you select effective treatments for your depression.

You can also find out more about the possible causes of depression in End Your Depression, which contains more detailed information about each type of depression.



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