The Causes of Depression:
Depression causes and risk factors
By Chi Phan, Counsellor and Life Purpose Coach
What causes depression?
The causes of depression can be complex. The cause is often a combination of biological or genetic, psychological, social and/or environmental factors. Lets look at these in more detail
Biological Factors or Genetics
There is a link of genetics to depression. Those with a family history of depression are two or three more times at risk of developing depression. Although there has been a link made, it is unclear, however, how depression develops in relation to genetics.
Some believe it is the interplay of a gene which makes a person more vulnerable to become neurotic (prone to worry) and negative life events, which then leads to depression.
Another group of researchers believe that the child may inherit certain traits which lends the parents to develop a certain parenting style such as being overprotective or authoritative. The parenting style then causes the child to lose a sense of mastery or competence, which then leads to depression.
More early studies indicated depression was due to lack of neurotransmitters (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine) in the brain but more recent research indicate it is more likely to be the number and sensitivity of receptors in the brain available to take up these neurotransmitters that changes the balance in chemicals.
Stressful life events such as losing a job, being unemployed, a financial disaster, losing a loved one, loss of a relationship, living in an abusive or volatile environment or growing up in hostile family environment can lead to depression.
This is more related to the kind of thoughts you have. They may be beliefs you have about yourself, others and the world. These beliefs may be based on your prior experiences and can be distorted.
Social factors can include being exposed to high levels of criticism, hostility or over involvement with family members. In circumstances of high criticism depressive symptoms can be triggered and can lead to a vicious cycle. People are less inclined to spend time with a depressed person leading them to be more isolated. Lack of an intimate relationship can be a significant risk factor for depression especially for women.