Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. It can affect anyone of almost any age, but it is not always known what causes depression in some people. Possible causes of depression may include genetics, brain chemistry, life events, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors. A family history of depression may increase the risk of developing the condition.
You are more likely to experience symptoms of depression if other people in your family also have depression or another type of mood disorder. Estimates suggest that depression is approximately 40% determined by genetics. Studies of twins, adoption and family have linked depression to genetics. While studies suggest that there is a strong genetic component, researchers are not yet sure of all genetic risk factors for depression.
It is important to remember that no single cause of depression acts in isolation. Genetics can increase your risk, and environmental influences can determine your likelihood of developing depression. The disease is related to depression in two ways. The stress of having a chronic illness can trigger an episode of major depression.
In addition, certain diseases, such as thyroid disorders, Addison's disease, and liver disease, can cause symptoms of depression. Stressful life events, which overwhelm a person's ability to cope, can also be a cause of depression. Researchers suspect that high levels of the hormone cortisol, which are secreted during periods of stress, may affect the neurotransmitter serotonin and contribute to depression. For some people, a disruptive or stressful life event, such as grief, divorce, illness, dismissal, and work or financial concerns, may be the cause.
Most people take the time to accept stressful events, such as grieving or the breakdown of a relationship. When these stressful events occur, the risk of becoming depressed increases if you stop seeing your friends and family and try to solve your problems on your own. You may be more vulnerable to depression if you have certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being too self-critical. This may be due to the genes you have inherited from your parents, your early life experiences, or both.
Feelings of loneliness, caused by things like being apart from family and friends, can increase the risk of depression. You may be at increased risk of depression if you have a long-standing or life-threatening illness, such as coronary heart disease or cancer. It is often said that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance, but that way of speaking does not capture the complexity of the disease. Research suggests that depression is not simply due to having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals.
Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, and stressful life events. A number of these forces are thought to interact to cause depression. While a little stress can be a good thing, as it can keep us motivated, chronic stress can erode the body's healthy stress response and lead to depression in some people. As the incidence of depressive disorders peaks during women's reproductive years, it is believed that hormonal risk factors may be at play.
However, recent events (such as loss of work) or a combination of events can “trigger” depression if you are already at risk due to previous bad experiences or personal factors. Depression is usually the result of a combination of recent events and other personal or long-term factors, rather than an immediate problem or event. In the first phase, they assessed a wide range of environmental and lifestyle factors for links to depression in more than 112,000 older British adults. The team applied a novel two-stage approach to identify factors that may affect the risk of developing depression.
When substances, including prescription drugs, cause depressive symptoms, it is known as substance-induced depression. One group of nutrients considered to be a protective factor against depression are omega-3 fatty acids, which are found, for example, in oily fish, algae, nuts and chia seeds. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects the way you feel, think and behave, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. More research is needed to determine how the factors identified in this study might contribute to depression.
For people with genetic risk factors for depression, the frequency of trusting others and the duration of sleep were the most protective. Controlled clinical trials will be needed to assess whether changing these factors may help prevent depression. Losses that may result in grief include the death or separation of a loved one, the loss of a job, the death or loss of a beloved pet, or any other change in life, such as divorce, having an empty nest, or retirement. .