Table of Contents
What Causes Depression?
Biology and Depression
People who suffer from clinical depression have differences in the brain than those who do not. This is the result of recent researchers. The hippo-campus for example, appears to be smaller in size with people who suffer or have previously suffered from depression when compared to those who never did. The hippo-campus is a small part located in the brain, with the purpose of storing memories. When this part is smaller than usual, the serotonin receptors result in being fewer. The serotonin is one of the many chemicals in the brain that allow circuits communication. This neurotransmitter works by connecting brain regions involved in the process of processing emotions.
The reason behind this happening is still unknown. Scientists do not know yet what the cause of the hippo-campus becoming smaller in depressed people is. On the other hand, some have found that cortisol is produced in excess when it comes to people suffering from depression. Cortisol is a stress hormone believed to have a shrinking effect on the hippo-campus development. Even though this is not confirmed, it is thought that this is the reason behind the different size of the hippo-campus in depressed people.
Other experts theorize that people who suffer from depression are born with a hippo-campus of a smaller size. According to this theory, depression is actually something people are born with. Because of their smaller hippo-campus, people are considered to be inclined to suffer from this condition.
Aside from this part, there are many other regions and pathways in the brains that are considered to be involved with depression. However, no single brain pathway or region can fully account for developing clinical depression. Depression has been and remains a complex disease with many causes and contributing factors.
Antidepressants are now somewhat proven to exert neurotrophic effect. This means that they can prevent nerve cells from dying, sustain them and allow them to form better connections that will be able to withstand biological stresses.
As the scientific process goes in determining what causes depression, health professionals work on improving their ways of setting diagnoses. This should result in more effective plans for treating depression.
Genetics and Depression
It is a common knowledge that depression sometimes runs in families. The truth is, there is at least one partial link that connects depression to genetics. Children, parents and siblings of people who are diagnosed and suffer from severe depression are more likely to develop the condition too. The chances of them becoming depressed are somewhat higher than of those who do not have depression in their genes.
When it comes to depression causes, there are multiple genes that can interact with one another to contribute to depression. And in most cases, the type of depression is also connected too. Despite this happening, there is no proof of a single ‘depression’ gene. It is actually commonly considered that there is more than one gene that contributes effects towards developing depression in patients.
Drugs and Depression
Drugs may lead to depression in some cases. More specifically, there are even certain medications that are more commonly associated with depression than others, such as:
- Isotretinoin (acne drug formerly sold as Accutane; now sold as Amnesteem, Absorica, Myorisan, Pentane, Claravis)
- Opioids (morphine, codeine)
- Anticholinergics (used to relieve stomach cramping symptoms)
The first three are most commonly associated with depression in older people. The second three can actually cause changes in mood, too.
Depression and Chronic Illnesses
Chronic illness can be what causes depression in some cases. By definition, chronic illness is some health issue that lasts for a longer period of time and cannot be completely cured. However, even though there is no cure, most chronic illnesses can be treated and controlled with change in lifestyle, exercise, diet and medication.
There are several chronic illnesses that can lead to depression. These include:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
In these cases, the treatments are considered to be interconnected. This means that by treating one condition, the other one may improve. For example, treating depression may sometimes help in the treatment of the co-existing medical illness; and other way round.
Depression and Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as a pain that lingers for a longer period of time, ranging from weeks to months. This pain is not only painful, but can also be very uncomfortable in the sense that it disturbs the sleep, the ability to be active and to exercise, the mood, the relationships and the productivity in general. Therefore, chronic pain may lead to feeling isolated, sad and depressed and finally, become a cause for developing depression.
When it comes to chronic pain and depression, there is no cure. However, there are several things that can improve your life and get it back on track. This treatment includes a multifaceted program of:
- support groups
Depression and Grief
Grief is a normal response to loss and a common cause of depression. Losses can lead to great amounts of pain and grief. These include death and separation of someone you love, loss of a job,
loss of home, death of a beloved pet or many other big life changes. One can also suffer from depression as a result of a divorce, knowledge of being sick or even retirement.
People are full of emotion and we can all experience grief and loss in life, but this does not necessarily mean that we will develop depression. Depression is a completely different thing than grief, especially since it involves many other symptoms. These include:
- feeling of low self-worth
- suicidal thoughts
- negative thoughts about the future
Grief differs in terms of symptoms because it involves feelings of loss, emptiness and longing for a person we love. Whether or not a person will develop depression depends on the individual case.
There are many causes of depression and the truth is, one can never know when depression may become a part of their lives. There is no determined depression cure, but this illness can be treated in many ways, including both medical and lifestyle changes. And of course, one of the most important factors in treating depression is conversation.