When it comes to zeroing in on the causes of depression, experts believe this condition is the result of several factors. From biological and genetic predispositions to environmental causes, depression is a complex phenomenon.
On the one hand, physicians and pharmaceutical companies emphasize the role of biological/genetic factors. On the other hand, psychologists tend to focus heavily on environmental factors such as stress, trauma, dysfunctional parenting styles.
So… who should we listen to?
A recent article published by Psychology Today discusses the impact of genes, medication, trauma, and stress on depression. In other words, the “psychiatry/pharmacology vs. psychology” debate is clearly not the right approach.
To understand depression, we need to look at it as a multifaceted phenomenon.
What is depression anyway?
Depression is one of the most common emotional problems people are facing these days. In fact, the World Health Organizations suggests nearly 320 million people are living with depression worldwide.
Emotionally, depression is characterized by sadness, grief, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. As a result, you lack the motivation and focus you need to thrive and enjoy a fulfilling life.
If left unchecked, this condition can have a profoundly debilitating impact on your personal, professional, and social life.
But how exactly do we end up feeling depressed?
Three major causes of depression
1. Genes and neurochemicals
Your genetic makeup can play a significant role in the onset of depression. Certain genes can make you less resilient to stress, thus more vulnerable to depressive episodes.
Another example of how biological factors can cause depression is vitamin D deficiency. Scientists have repeatedly proven that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depressive episodes. That’s why we tend to feel a bit ‘down’ during the cold season when the sun – a natural source of vitamin D – remains hidden behind thick clouds for most of the time.
Sometimes, depression is not a standalone condition, but the consequence of something deeper; something that has shaken the foundations of your psyche.
Traumatic events such as physical abuse, the death of a loved one, or even natural disasters can leave you fragile and vulnerable. As a result, depression kicks in, isolating you from a threatening environment where – as experience has taught you – bad things can happen without warning.
Stress represents one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety. The stressful events that life often throws down your path can take a toll on your overall mental health.
When you don’t possess a set of robust coping mechanisms to withstand everyday stress, depression can become a real threat.
As you can see, the causes of depression can vary greatly, and there’s no way we can avoid them all. The best thing we can do is come to terms with our painful past and develop resilience in the face of adversity.
To learn more about depression, click here.