Causes of Depression
The causes of depression, as with other mood disorders, seem complex. It is likely that a combination of factors, rather than a single factor, may cause depression. The following may contribute:
Looking at the factors affecting prevalence, it seems there is a connection between what happens to a person and dysthymia.
Difficult circumstances, such as poverty, can affect mood. However, there are more impoverished people who are not dsythymic, so there has to be more to the picture.
What happens to people early in life undoubtedly has a powerful affect on one's outlook and way of thinking. If a person doesn't develop the ability to trust in early childhood, for example, the outlook on life can become skewed toward the negative.
Cognitive theory suggests people holding a negative predisposition toward life, can become depressed.
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Some studies indicate that there may be a strong biological factor in depression. Currently, a controversy rages: Depressed people generally exhibit a change in brain chemistry; but does a change in brain chemistry cause depression, or does depresson cause a change in brain chemistry? It is quite likely that causes stem from both.
Some people may be geneticically predisposed to depression. New information from brain mapping and genetic research is showing an increaslingly clear picture. Predisposition, especially when accompanied by stressors, may produce symptoms.
In other cases some people become severly depressed when there are not significant stressors. In such cases onset frequently begins in the early twenties or later and for no apparent reason.
Drugs and alcohol
The pschological community generally sees the use of drugs and alcohol by depressed people as an attempt to "self-medicate," to relieve symtoms.
New information indicates that the consistent use of depressant types of drugs and alcohol (also a depressant) may add to depression or even cause it.
People who are depressed and who us depressants, including alcohol, are likely caught in a vicious cyle.
People who are ill can become depressed because being sick is depressing.
At the same time, when the body is weak from illness, the brain is also affected. When people are in poor health, depression is often a natural product of poor health.
People who have mental health issues, as they are hard to live with in most cases, are often cause for depression.
Teens are sometimes subject to hormone related depression, as are some women entering or during menopause. At Bill Jacobs LPCC we work with women who suffer postpartum depression to support them through it. Even though the cause is hormonal, the good mental health practice of talking about feelings can reduce the intensity.