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What Causes Depression?

Depression isnít a simple condition with a known cause. Some people are more susceptible to depressive episodes while others are not. Itís important to discuss symptoms with your doctor. There are several possible causes of depression.


Depression may be an inherited condition. You may have a higher likelihood of experiencing a depressive disorder at some point in your life if you have a family member with depression. The exact gene involved in this is unknown.


Some people have noticeable changes in their brains with depression. Even though this potential cause isnít understood, it does suggest that depression starts with the functioning of the brain. Similarly, some psychiatrists look at brain chemistry with cases of depression.

Neurotransmitters in the brain ó specifically serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine ó affect feelings of happiness and pleasure and may be out of balance in people with depression. Antidepressants work to balance these neurotransmitters, mainly serotonin. Why these neurotransmitters get out of balance and exactly what role they play in depressive states isnít fully understood.