Causes of Depression
Have you ever wondered how can depression appear at all? Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with a depression lately and you’re asking yourself what lead you to into this situation. Probably it is quite clear to you what triggered this “state of mind” and you’re only looking for confirmation. Here you will find explanations und directions.
Of course there are plenty of information out there about the causes and risk factors, but it is still not completely explained, why some people become affected by depression and others not. And causes of depression are in many regards only a mystery.
Depression differs from person to person and so vary the causes from case to case.
First of all, it makes sense to differ between the following types of depression.
Causes of psychogenic depression
Psychogenic depression is most common. What is characteristic for this type of depression is that it originates in the psyche and has no physiological causes. This type is attributed to mental or emotional factors.
Characteristic of the psychogenic depression is that it is caused by outside influences. Although it has emotional roots, it doesn’t come “from inside” or “out of nothing”, but is a consequence of events, situations and relations from a person’s life.
The most common cause of this depression in a person’s life is a decisive event which caused a great trauma or emotional pain. Great loss, stress, and mistreatment, abuse: all these events can lead to psychogenic depression
Psychogenic depression can further be divided into the following subcategories:
Tendency towards developing depression (Burnout syndrome)
Reactive depression occurs as a “reaction” to a certain event. Stressors like divorce, separation, break-ups, death of a family member, or troubles at workplace play major role here. Events that are direct. Events that are direct causes of depression are marked as “triggers”.
It should be mentioned here as well that every man is an individual and has difffernt sensitivity threshold: A situation, which can cause reactive depression can leave another person totally cold.
Here are other situations and events which are common causes of reactive depression:
- Job changes
- Being fired
- Financial problems and poverty
- House moving
- Dissatisfaction at work
- Natural disasters
- Problems at school
Some of these life events, e.g. retirement or house moving are in principle not seen as negative, but still can cause reactive depression because they change the rhythm of life from the roots.
Neurotic depression, also designated as dystimia is similar to reactive depression, meaning that it appears as a consequence of life events which haven't been „processes“. It is of crucial importance to mention that the basis for emergence of this type of depression is a neurotic personality structure, which in combination with stressful events or situations causes the disorder.
A very common cause is a disturbed or unresolved or non-existent parent-child relation which generates sorrow or despair from the very early childhood. Given that a person may also have a neurotic personality structure, then there is a great possibility for the development of neurotic depression.
Traits of neurotic personality:
- increased anxiety and nervousness, prone to panic attacks
- difficulties building up relations with another people – general mistrust towards others
- obsessive-compulsive behavior
- dissatisfaction with one’s own self
- susceptibility to stress
- apocalyptic way of thinking – only the bad things are expected
- constant doubt
- quick appearance of threatening feelings
Tendency towards developing depression (Burnout)
Depression can also be caused by experiencing burdens and strains from the outside, they exist mainly over longer period of time and persist – we speak here of continuous and lasting load and burdens.
A very often type of depressive tendency development is depression caused by exhaustion. Depression caused by exhaustion has not yet seen as Burnout syndrome, but the symptoms and causes between the these two are so similar that there is a high possibility that this is the same disorder.
The causes of burnout are the following circumstances:
- feeling of having little or no control over one’s job
- unclear or high expectations at workplace
- the chaotic atmosphere at work which causes a lot of high pressure
- insufficient pay
- lack of fairness, for example lack of equal rights regarding salary, work overload or lack of promotion and advancement on career
- conflicts between one’s own values and job requirements
- disturbed balance within working environment – e.g. unkindness or lack of support amongst colleagues
Causes of endogenous depression
Endogenous depression can be viewed as counterpart to psychogenic depression, because in comparison to it, it cannot be ascribed to environmental influences. When a person suffers from endogenous depression, he/she manifests symptoms of a typical depression, however there seems to be “no reason“ for it.
The very word “endogen“ means “coming from within“. It is assumed, that this depression is caused by biohemical changes within the body, while there still little understanding what activated this change.
Endogenous depression may especially be confusing for you, if you lead quite a stabile and happy life, and you cannot explain your soul pain.
Genetics plays a decisive role for the emergence of endogenous depression. It is a known fact that depression is common in the family of the person who suffers from it. If depression appears in family history the chances are higher that one will develop it.
It is assumed that depression is a complex disorder: this means that there are a number of genes that contribute to the emergence of depression. Accordingly there is not only one gene that is responsible for the development of depression.
Researchers in biology have observed that there are other criteria that can be noticed when it comes to depression: for example, hippocampus, part of the brain which stores memories seems to be smaller in people who suffer from depression than in other people.
Smaller hippocampus possesses less serotonin – receptors – Serotonin is one of the many neurotransmitters in the brain which is responsible for the processiong of emotions.
Some experts believe that depressive people are simply born with smaller hippocampus and that is why they are more susceptible to depression.
It is obvious here that there are more areas of brain that together trigger depression, which makes it difficult to point out at one biological cause.
Causes of somatogenic depression
Somatogenic depression is a form of depression that has physical causes. It can again be divided into subcategories, namely organic, pharmacogenic and symptomatic depression.
Organic depression appears as a result of illnesses that are connected with the brain. This uncludes:
- brain tumors
- cerebral arteriosclerosis
- brain atrophy
- Parkinson's disease
Pharmacogenic depression is caused by medications a patient takes. Some patients do not tolerate certain pharmaceuticals and develop depression as a side effect.
Medications that can have these side effects can be of various kinds. They include:
Besides these medications, pharmacogenic depression can also be caused by alcohol abuse.
Symptomatic depression appears as accompanying effect of system illnesses. System illnesses are described as illnesses that do not affect individual part of the body, but the entire organ systems. System illnesses that often bring about affective symptoms and depression with it, are:
- Thyroid hypofunction and hyperfunction (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism)
- Cushing's syndrome
- Addison's disease
- pancreatic cancer
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Folic acid deficiency
Causes of depression are not only diverse and complex, but they haven’t been yet researched in their entirety. It is important that, if you are the one suffering from depression, do not worry too much about what might have caused your depression and if you could have prevented it.
Depressive people often come across the lack of understanding in their environment. The reason for this is that depression is still stigmatized in the society and unfortunately not recognized as an illness. It is rather viewed as inability to adjust.
It is important that you seek professional help, because depression is a very serious illness that like any other illness has its valid causes.
(translated from German, source: https://depression-heilen.com/