Causes of Depression: Biological, Environmental, Abuse, Genetics & More

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Why am I Depressed?

There is no single reason why you are feeling depressed. Several combined factors are attributed to your current experience and the negative general overview in life. Your pessimistic perception in life to suggest that you are depressed is mainly as a result of the following factors.

What are the Main Causes of Depression?

Life to the majority has never being a smooth road. There are series of ups and downs with some rooted from your childhood. Past experiences to the current lifestyles combined with both inanimate and animate objects could subject you to depression. Outlined below are some of the main causes of depression.

Causes of Depression
  • Abuse: Were you brought up in a family by abusive parents? Were you raped when young or subjected to sexual molestation and torture at a tender age? Mistreatment of the young can lead to repercussions of depressive illnesses later in life. Abuse at work, school or home could also be the reason you are depressed.
  • Genetics: If there is a member of your family especially your parent who at one time showed signs of depression, it could mean you are at risk of getting depressed as well. Studies have shown that you can easily inherit endogenous depression from your parents.
  • Major events: Both positive and negative sudden life changing events may trigger hormonal imbalances and render you depressed. Suppose you have been searching for a job for a long time without success, and there comes a call for your dream job. Won’t this be exciting indeed? Moving to a new home in a different city or state with new environment is a known cause of depression. Involvement in an accident can haunt for life.
  • Conflict: Loss of a job, divorce or involvement in a crime scene can produce enough stress than you can handle. Haunted by the uncertainties the future holds for you can be so traumatizing and result to depression.
  • Death or a loss: It is normal for one to grieve our loved ones. Either of your parents or a family member could have died when you were young. As you grew up you wished you had more time with them. Haunted by these feelings, you are at a higher risk of getting depressed. Loss of a treasured property like an expensive bracelet or a pet can spark that low moodiness resulting to depression.
  • Other personal problems: You risk getting depressed when overwhelmed with financial or social difficulties. Failure to realize your goals within a stipulated time might lead to resentment. You are not getting a pay hike, no promotion, increased cost of living or you can’t pay bills are factors that can lead to depression.
  • Serious illnesses: Would it really sound funny to be diagnosed with HIV prior to your wedding? An accident can leave you permanently disabled leading to stress. Other chronic serious illnesses that could lead to depression include heart problems, cancers, arthritis or surgeries which leave permanent marks on your body.
  • Substance abuse: Uncontrolled alcoholism, smoking and use of recreational drugs can all result to depression. You are more likely to experience drawbacks whenever you attempt to quit. Living to the facts that you cannot break the habits will do you more harm. You will have to dig deeper in to your pockets to sustain these practices.

Is Depression Hereditary or Learned?

Depression can either be inherited or learned. Research has shown that manic, bipolar and postnatal types of depression can be passed from parents to their siblings. You are at a higher chance of getting depressed if either of your parents suffered the same. Recent studies show that you can easily learn depression from a family member portraying the signs than inherit from your parent.

Biological Causes of Depression

Biological causes of depression constitute major activities in your body that prompt depressive illnesses. These include physical changes in the brain, nerve cell transmissions and hormonal changes.

  • Physical changes to the brain: People who suffer depressive illnesses exhibit physical changes in their brains. Brain imaging devices are used to monitor activities in different areas of the brain when a patient is responding to treatments.
  • Neurotransmitters: These are the nerve cells responsible for relaying information in the brain. They control both the moods and thoughts of a person. They include dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
  • Hormones: During depression, there are notable hormonal imbalances in the brain. These changes could reflect an infection of the thyroid gland responsible for their synthesis. During puberty, menopause, during and after pregnancies, hormonal changes can cause depression.

Environmental Causes of Depression

The rate at which our bodies absorb synthetic chemicals from the environment is shocking. This results from our exposure to toxins such as pesticides, industrial products, food addictives and preservatives and drugs. Foods, water and hormonal drugs that you consume contains chemicals which expose your immune systems to sicknesses that can lead to depression. Non-chemical environmental contributors of stress you get include noise pollution and calamities.

  • Financial Troubles
    The frustrations that come with the inability to meet your daily basic needs can’t go unnoticed. A sudden dismissal from work would mean that you will have to change your lifestyle. You won’t go for picnics or hang out with friends since you are too broke. It is normal to be indebted to someone or an institution. However, there have been reported several cases of people suffering from depression due to debts. Others even commit suicide.
  • Death of a Loved One
    Losing a close relative or a spouse can leave one in grieve. It is normal to mourn your loved ones so that you can come in to terms with the reality that they are no longer with you. In some cases, the death of a friend can impact negatively in your life leading to depression.
  • High Stress Situations
    Everyone has personal challenges. You are likely to suffer depression if the stresses you undergo exceed your threshold. You may reach appoint when these stresses overwhelm you and feel you can no longer cope. This reflects that your mind is at the pick of the stress it can handle.
  • Loss of a Job
    Have you being laid off from work? It means no pay, no money and hence more trouble. You still need to eat clothe, pay bills or go for a holidays. Not without a penny in your debit card. Your life is crashed. Loss of a job will automatically render you helpless and hopeless before you land on another sooner or later. These stresses will build up and eventually spark depression.

How Depression is Related to Suicide?

Serious traumatic events in a person’s life combined with stresses of life lead to depression. The feelings of worthlessness and lack of significance in life ignites the call to end one’s life. Suicide seems as the last resort of overcoming the overwhelming strains of life. Once dead, you are sure the agony of living under pressure is gone. Instances occur where one is rescued while trying to commit suicide. Such cases should be held by a professional counselor as other complications may have arisen from the attempt.

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Author

Expert Author : Joan Raynor (Consumer Health Digest)

Joan Raynor is a health researcher and expert writer specializing in mental health issues where she provides hope and support to persons with treatment-resistant depression and other chronic mood disorders.