depression causes

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Causes of Depression


What are some of the causes of depression?
Research on depression has shown that physical changes in the body can be accompanied by mental changes as well. Medical illnesses can cause depressive conditions, making the sick person apathetic and unwilling to care for his or her physical needs, thus prolonging the recovery period. Also, a serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Most of the time, genetic, psychological, and environmental factors are involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. Later episodes of illness typically are precipitated by only mild stresses, or none at all.

Research has also shown that your diet can be one of the causes of depression, along with addictions and other dependencies. Investigate all of the possible reasons for experiencing depression to ensure that you will benefit from appropriate treatments.

Some types of depression run in families, suggesting that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. This seems to be the case with bipolar disorder. Studies of families in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder found that those with the illness have a somewhat different genetic makeup than those who do not get ill. However, the reverse is not true: Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes vulnerability to bipolar disorder will have the illness. Apparently additional factors, possibly stresses at home, work, or school, are involved in its onset.

Major depression also seems to occur generation after generation in some families. However, it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression. Whether inherited or not, major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain function.

People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism or who are readily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression. Whether this represents a psychological predisposition or an early form of the illness is not clear.

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Brain and Mental Health


References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health


last update: February 2009


This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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