The Causes of Depression

Ryan Puusaari

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What Causes Depression?

Depression is a complex illness that affects up to 10% of the population at any given time. While we did not have too much insight into the problem at the beginning of the 20th century, medical research has enabled us to learn quite a lot in recent years. However, scientists, doctors and researchers have so far been unsuccessful in pinning down one specific trigger for depression.

The current line of research is that depression is probably not caused by any single element, as was believed earlier. That belief generated from the fact that all other diseases encountered till then had one single source. Now, however, researchers are beginning to believe that there could be multiple triggers for depression, all of which vary from person to person and manifest in different ways.

Researchers have identified three such elements that they believe are the vital triggers for depression. These are:

  • Biological
  • Environmental
  • Genetic factors

    Any combination of the above mentioned factors could also cause depression.

    Biological Elements Causing Depression

    As the term indicates, biological elements relate to basic biological changes in the body. These changes can be of many types. Onset of a severe illness could trigger a bout of depression. Another such trigger for depression could be some form of medication that a person is taking, or any form of substance abuse, be it alcohol or narcotics or medicines.

    However, biological causes are primarily related to chemical changes within the brain. A chemical imbalance in the brain can, for example, trigger severe depression. The most common such imbalance is that seen in neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters facilitate the communication between brain cells, as the name suggests. An imbalance in serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters, is seen as the most common link to depression due to biological elements. Imbalances in other chemical elements within the body can also cause depression.

    Environmental Elements Causing Depression

    Environmental elements relate to changes in a person's immediate environment, be it physical or mental. Radical changes, trauma and instability have a significant role on the human psyche. Harmful environmental factors include traumatic childhoods, high levels of stress at work or at home, the trauma caused by the breakdown of a relationship, etc.

    Environmental instability can lead to emotional instability, which in turn will result in a greater likelihood of depression.

    Genetic Elements Causing Depression

    The genetic elements are now the ones that are being most scrutinized. Recent research, especially from the latter half of the 20th century onwards, has shown that genetics has a large role in most of the issues, both positive as well as negative, related to human beings. The answers to most complex and so far unanswered questions lie in the genetic makeup of the human body, according to many researchers. This applies to depression as well.

    Researchers have discovered that family history plays a large role in determining if a person would show a higher tendency towards depression. Other findings have shown that if a family member suffers from clinical depression, you will be 1.5 to 3 times more likely to develop the illness as well.

    Depression, like almost any other illness, is the result of a number of influences. Age, genes, environmental and psychological factors all play a role in human development. It's important to know the causes because the more you know, the better equipped you will be to help yourself or a loved one.

    Ryan Puusaari is a writer, an educator and the owner of . . . Read more of Ryan's Depression Conquering articles now - Click Here

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