Depression is something that has perplexed health professionals for years. No one quite understands depression – it is a very complex illness. Therefore, the causes of this condition are not completely known.

However, it does appear that depression can be triggered by a multitude of factors. Major life changes, traumatic events and even genetics can play a part, though sometimes there is simply no reason why the illness appears.

The causes of Depression are not always clear

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious illness which can have a profound impact on the day-to-day life of someone who suffers from the illness. While the majority of people go through periods of feeling down or unhappy, those who are depressed feel persistently sad or have a low mood for weeks, or perhaps even months. Depression can make life appear pointless, and often leads to suicidal ideation. Depression is a common mental illness, and is usually classed as either mild, moderate or severe. Clinical Depression is the most common form, though there are a range of types, including Postpartum depression and Seasonal Affective depression. The good news is that unlike many mental health conditions, with the right treatment, support and lifestyle, many people with depression will gain full remission.

What are some potential causes of Depression?

As discussed, many people have argued that Depression may arise as a result of various factors. Some of the below factors may be involved in the onset of Depression:

  • Genetics: It appears that a family history of depression can increase the risk of developing. Depression is complex however, but it is believed many different genes can contribute towards depression developing. But it should be emphasised that depression isn’t purely caused by genes. Yet depression will often run in families.
  • Chemical Imbalance: Most people have heard the term ‘chemical imbalance’ in terms of explaining depression. There is no doubting that the brains of people who have clinical depression are different in some ways to those who don’t. Serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain appear to be linked to processing emotions and regulating mood. An imbalance in some of these neurotransmitters may result in depression – though it isn’t fully understood.
  • Abuse: Physical, sexual or emotional abuse can lead to depression developing in some people, and may act as a trigger in many cases.
  • Childhood Events: Childhood events help shape the personality of an individual. Personality defects can often appear as a result, or someone may struggle to make friends or trust someone. This can lead to loneliness.
  • Trauma: A traumatic event can cause an individual sadness and regret, and spiral into depression.
  • Major Life Event: Major life events, such as retirement, divorce, or losing a job can all have a negative effect on an individual that leads them spiralling into depression. In some cases, even supposedly positive events like marriage, graduating or having a child can cause depression.
  • Major Illness: Some illnesses can lead to depression being triggered. For instance, chronic illnesses that don’t seem to be curable can result in a depressed mood.
  • Financial Issues: Finance underpins the lives of many people. Financial problems often causes stress, which can lead to depression.
  • Other Mental Health Conditions: Depression is closely aligned to several other mental health conditions, or can develop alongside these conditions – such as eating disorders, anxiety or adjustment disorders.
  • Medication: Certain medications have unfortunately been linked to depression developing. Some medicines for acne like Roaccutane is often associated with depression. Corticosteroids and high-strength opioids can also lead to changes in moods. All drugs are unpredictable, and could potentially lead to mood changes.
  • Death or Loss: A period of grief is a perfectly natural response to either a death or loss. However, grief can turn into depression in some cases.
  • Personality Traits: Some personality traits like low self-esteem or self-loathing can leave someone being vulnerable to developing depression. This is even more of an issue if these traits have been inherited from your parents.
  • Substance Abuse: Those that suffer from substance abuse problems commonly contract depression as a result.
  • Giving Birth: Sometimes giving birth can lead to depression being triggered – though this is called Postpartum Depression – a certain type of depression.
  • Loneliness: Loneliness is difficult to cope with, and can trigger depression.


A lot of the time there is no single cause of depression. It is often a number of factors or events that accumulate – leading to the condition developing.

Sometimes a ‘downward spiral’ of events can take place that leads to depression. As seen in this article – there are such a huge plethora of possible causes. Anyone has the potential to be vulnerable to develop depression.

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