Causes of Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people every year. There are different causes for different people and types of depression. While experts are unsure about the exact causes of depression, they believe it is a combination of genes, biochemical environment, personal experience and psychological factors.

A study in the Archives of Psychiatry found that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans showed patients with clinical depression had less brain volume in several areas, including the hippocampus. After the treatment, however, the hippocampus returned to normal size. This part of the brain is important for turning short-term into long-term memory as well as maintaining spatial navigation and controlling inhibitions.

An article from the Stanford School of Medicine accesses the genetic component of depression. Studies about families have found that if a twin has problems with depression, then the other will likely have issues as well. As another example, if someone has a parent or sibling with major depression, than that person has a higher risk of developing depression compared with the average person (or around 20 to 30 percent instead of 10 percent).

Of course, a traumatic event such as sexual abuse, death of a loved one, losing a job and many other situations can cause depression and can be treated at one of many residential treatment centers for depression. There are other causes for the different forms of depression, but one specific list cannot address all possibilities:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by changes of the With this condition there is a delay in the body’s adjustment to the seasons. During the winter there can be less daylight which may alter the chemicals of the brain. Less often, it affects people during the summer as well. If you find yourself depressive during the same times every year, consider attending a depression treatment facility for help
  • Withdrawal from addictive habits such as smoking may cause a temporary form of depression. Nicotine has been known to affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, elevating the amount of dopamine and serotonin. The former is associated with the reward system of the body and the latter contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. It is recommended to avoid a smoking habit so as to avoid any chemical imbalances. If you are currently smoking, see a doctor about a quitting program
  • A thyroid problem can cause emotional issues. One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is depression. While early stages of this problem can be asymptomatic, later on it can cause fatigue, dry skin, muscle weakness, impaired memory and other issues. Luckily, with medication, this illness is treatable. See a doctor if you believe you have this disease
  • Poor sleeping habits can create depression. “If you don’t sleep, you don’t have time to replenish [brain cells], the brain stops functioning well, and one of the many factors that could lead to is depression,” says Matthew Edlund, MD, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine. While it may seem tempting to make sleep the last priority when life gets hectic, it’s vital to stick to a seven to eight hour sleeping schedule for optimum health. If you are experiencing frequent insomnia, see a doctor for possible treatments
  • Medications can have adverse effects that include depression. For example, depression is a known side effect for some women who take birth control. “It doesn’t happen to everyone, but if women have a history of depression or are prone to depression, they have an increased chance of experiencing depression symptoms while taking birth control pills,” says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University, in New York. Other drugs, such as Lipitor, can also trigger depression. If you believe any drug is causing emotional problems, see your doctor
  • Drug abuse of any kind can cause imbalances in the brain, leading to depression. For example, using cocaine can cause heightened emotions leading to ill feelings toward yourself and others. Painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone can cause euphoria for some but also depress others. If you or someone you know is abusing any drugs, please call the number at the bottom of this page to speak to a certified drug abuse specialist from a depression rehab center

Depression is a tough condition to take on. Help exists to make it bearable for anyone to get through this stage of life. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any kind of depression and needs help, don’t hesitate to call (855) 678-0400 for a depression treatment facility in your area.

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