Causes of Depression

There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. Trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation that overwhelms the ability to cope may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.

Research with brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), shows that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate—neurotransmitters—may also be affected. It is not clear which changes seen in the brain may be the cause of depression and which ones the effect.

Some types of depression tend to run in families, suggesting there may be some genetic vulnerability to the disorder.

Recent posts on Depression

Chris Cornell’s Life and Death: Suicide Is Not Painless

We don’t know the depth of people’s suffering, the silent struggles they daily endure.

5 Things to Remember When You're Embarrassed to Ask for Help

Asking for help is tough. But there are some good reasons why you should do it anyway.
Dora Calott Wang

What's Up with Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is as malignant as cancer, says Robert Post.
Pixabay

You Are Not Your Circumstances

Start treating yourself like you’d treat a good friend and separating who you are from what happens to you with these 4 steps
istock.com

Suicide Is a Scary Word

Passive thoughts of suicide should alert every therapist to the possibility that darkness is looming.

Jacoby Shaddix Is Marching Right Next to You

"I just feel like I’m drowning in myself."
Unsplash

Six Important Truths about Depression

What not to say to someone with depression.

Two Words That Make Asking for Help a lot Easier

Asking for help is tough. Knowing what to say makes it a little easier.

Measuring Happiness: How Can We Measure It?

Can positive psychology researchers really measure happiness? Here are five ways they try—and some of the surprising and interesting findings that come from measuring happiness.

13 Reasons Why

Have your heard warnings about "13 Reasons Why?" Get the basics about how clinical depression is diagnosed.

Chris Cornell: When Suicide Doesn’t Make Sense

What might have been happening inside the rock star's mind.

Will You Be Less Depressed If You Get Married? Two Studies

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 19, 2017 in Living Single
When single people marry, do they get less depressed? Are married people less depressed than people who are cohabiting or dating or single with no romantic partner?
 123rf.com/Boris Zatserkovnyy

Postpartum Depression: Mothers and Babies Are Still Dying

Scores of pregnant and postpartum women continue to suffer in silence and wonder if letting someone know will make things better or worse.
Steve Collender at Bigstock.com

Mental Illness Splits Families

By Susan Noonan MD on May 18, 2017 in View From the Mist
Does mental illness in one person create anger and resentment in your other family members?

Fell on Black Days: Mourning the Suicide of Chris Cornell

By Joe Pierre M.D. on May 18, 2017 in Psych Unseen
Reflections on suicide, celebrity, and selfishness

Are Therapists Just Rent-a-Friends?

If you had real friends, some people say, you wouldn’t need a therapist. Is psychotherapy really just a substitute for friendship or is there more to it?

Is Depression Apart from Grief or a Part of Grief?

The title above alludes to a really tricky question. And a complicated one, too. For the answer to this two-part inquiry is, well, “Yes” and “Yes.”
Christian Sterk

Hidden Faces

It seems counterintuitive: sadness in the spring as flowers bloom and temperatures rise.

Yoga Lifts Depression & Helps You Flex when Wound Too Tight

Controlling your breath can open the space that allows you to control your mood without any conscious effort on your part.

Tips for Spring Cleaning

Cleaning up the stress mess is vital. Long-term, ongoing stress is bad for your physical and emotional health.

The "Furry Test Tubes" of Obesity Research

Mice are the most common animals now used in obesity research.They have many advantages for scientists who work with them but are far from perfect as a model for human beings.

Exercise Researchers Find "More Is Better" Mindset Overrated

A new study reports that you don't have to spend hours at the gym—or even break a sweat—to reap psychological benefits from small doses of low intensity, easy physical activity.

Depression and Psychological Nourishment

Depression arises from a failure to achieve "psychological nourishment".

Superhero Therapy—Healing through fiction

Do you enjoy reading fiction, watching fantasy or science fiction TV shows, or reading Superhero comics? What if these have a potential to help us better manage our mental health?

How a Suicide Attempt Can Affect the Brain

Following a failed suicide attempt, acute CO poisoning causes serious mental health problems due to the death of neurons in vulnerable brain regions.

Older Adults and Mental Health

While many older Americans are embracing an entirely new attitude toward aging, many are still caught up in the stigma and isolation of our attitudes around mental health.

Forgiveness Part 1

Beginning at the age of ten, Monica was frequently sexually assaulted for a period of more than six years. The assailant was her father.
Pixabay

Dealing with Disappointment in Life

Everyone will be disappointed somehow in life. Try these four things to help prepare yourself.

How To Let Go After Your Breakup

Ever felt exhausted from a break up? This will help.

Why Negative Thoughts Are Normal

We're all wired for negativity for good reason: It helped us survive. But today these tendencies backfire. So forgive yourself, move on, and feel joy for a change.