Recognizing the Causes and Risk Factors of Depression

Depression is a common mental health diagnosis that comes with debilitating symptoms that can keep people from a life of mental well-being. Depressive disorders are more than just feeling sad – they are life-altering conditions that can affect every aspect of a person’s life including relationships, careers, emotions, and more. If you’re struggling with depression, you may be wondering what help may look like for you or if there are other options for treatment that you may not have considered yet. Fortunately, help is available for people living with depression – even for those who have already tried traditional treatments to no avail. But, before treatment begins, it can be helpful for people who are living with these conditions to understand the causes and risk factors of depression. Knowing more about how depression forms and who is more likely to develop these conditions can steer people in the best direction for treatment.

Some of the Most Common Causes of Depression

There are many causes of depressive disorders. While there is not one cause of depression that leads to these disorders, it can be helpful to understand why a person has specifically developed depression in order to pinpoint the best method of treatment. Some of the most causes of depression to develop include:

Genetics and Family History: People who have relatives living with depression are more likely to develop depressive disorders themselves. This is due to genetics that can increase a person’s risk for imbalanced hormones or brain chemistry.

Imbalance of Brain Chemicals: Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters are responsible for mood management. Many people struggling with depression have an imbalance of these neurotransmitters which can result in symptoms of depression.

Imbalance of Hormones: Hormones also are important for regulating emotions. So, hormonal imbalances can result in the development of depressive disorders. Hormonal changes can be the result of a number of things including pregnancy and post-pregnancy, thyroid issues, and menopause.

Risk Factors of Developing Depressive Disorders

Risk factors of depression are things that can make a person at a higher risk for developing depression. Some of the risk factors that make a person more likely to develop a depressive disorder include:

  • having low self-confidence
  • having family members who have other types of mental health issues (besides depression)
  • being of the LGBTQ+ community in situations that are not accepting
  • being diagnosed with other mental health issues
  • using medications that have side effects of depression
  • being diagnosed with physical health issues or experiencing severe physical trauma/injury
  • being the victim of abuse, childhood neglect, or trauma
  • using addictive substances

Getting Help for Depression

Help for depression is available and effective. Traditional treatments can include behavioral therapies, counseling, and antidepressant medications. However, while these treatments may be successful for many, some people may not get the results they need or want from these treatments. For example, some people may experience adverse reactions to antidepressants. And, others may not get the relief from symptoms of depressive disorder they need from traditional treatments alone. People who don’t get the help they need from traditional treatment alone may be living with treatment-resistant depression.

Treatment-resistant depression is actually treatable with effective therapies that are focused on healing the brain, like TMS and ketamine therapies. These types of treatments are available on an outpatient basis from Delray Brain Science. If you or a loved one is dealing with treatment-resistant depression, learn more about these brain-based approaches to treating depression on our website.