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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Causes of Depression: Possible Triggers of Depression?

This page abstract: What are possible triggers for a depressive disorder?

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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Causes of Depression: Possible Triggers of Depression?

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 13 Feb 2011.

What are the causes of depression? What may trigger depression?

Answer:

There is not only one single cause of depression! It is known that there are biochemical changes and a biological vulnerability for depressed patients. We know that there is also a genetic influence that may cause depression: First degree relatives with depression are a risk factor for a depressive disorder.

However psycho-social factors have a big influence! According to the diathesis-stress-model of depression any kind of stressful event or unhealthy lifestile might trigger the onset of the disorder.

Possible triggers (causes for the onset) for a depressive disorder may include:

  • Seasonal changes (see seasonal affective disorder)
  • Death of a loved one / spouse
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of job / unemployment
  • Chronic physical illness / chronic pain
  • Moving house / loss of social contacts
  • Chronic conflicts at work
  • Marital problems
  • Childbirth
  • Chronic alcohol or drug abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Low self-esteem
  • Being the victim of a crime or accident (see PTSD)
  • Poverty
  • Other possible causes..........

    Try to identify your individual triggers and make a list. Talk with your physician or psychotherapist and with your family and friends about these topics!

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