What are the causes of depression?

Depression is a mental illness that affects 16 million adults in the United States every year. Clinical Depression is defined as a complex mental health disorder that causes a person’s mood to plummet, resulting in the person feeling intense, prolonged sadness, lethargy, and hopelessness. Although depression is more common in women, it can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or education level.

Though the causes of depression are not fully understood, there are many potential factors that have been linked to the disorder. 

Common Causes Of Depression

There are a number of causes that can lead to depression. Some of the most common are: 

  • Abuse. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can make you more vulnerable to depression later in life.
  • Age. People who are of retirement age or older are at higher risk of depression. That can be made worse by other factors, such as living alone and a lack of regular socialization.
  • Medication Side Effects. Some medications, over-the-counter or doctor prescribed, can increase your risk of depression. Be sure to read the side effects of your medication and speak to your doctor about any mood changes while taking the medication.
  • Chemical Imbalances. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that help ease the communication between your nerve cells. If there are underlying issues affecting your brain from communicating regularly, it can lead to chemical imbalances that reveal themselves as symptoms of depression.
  • Conflict. People who are predisposed or vulnerable to depression may be triggered by personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
  • Death or Loss of a Loved One. Grieving after the death or loss of a loved one is a natural and normal reaction. Even so, it can increase the risk of depression.
  • Gender. Women are about twice as likely as men to become depressed. Although experts have not determined the reason for this likelihood, the hormonal changes that women go through at different times of their lives may play a role.
  • Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk of depression. There is no single ‘depression gene’ that causes depression. It is believed that there are many different genes that contribute to the overall risk of depression.
  • Injury. Pain and mobility restrictions can be major contributors to depression. The mental stress that occurs after an injury can also increase the risk of depression, especially for those recovering in isolation.
  • Major events. Life has many major events, good and bad, that may trigger an anxiety response. However, clinical depression is more than just a “normal” response to stressful life events.
  • Isolation. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses, COVID-19 quarantine, or being cast out of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.
  • Serious illnesses. Many times, depression happens along with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.
  • Substance Abuse/Misuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance misuse problems also have major or clinical depression. Although drugs or alcohol may temporarily provide some distraction and make you feel better, the misuse of these substances will aggravate depression and any underlying conditions.

If you are suffering from depression or are experiencing some of the symptoms of depression, contact our office to speak to an experienced therapist who can help you control the negative effects of depression.