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Causes of Depression

Where Does Depression Come From?

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There are varieties of causes, some physiological, some psychological, some social. There is a great deal of interesting speculation about the genetic causes of various psychiatric problems, depression being one of them; however, the research is still too young to credit gospel.

Physiological Causes:

Certain brain neurotransmitters may not be secreted in sufficient amounts to alleviate mood disorders. The chemical's serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine are the most important to our sense of well being. When the nerves are robbed of these neurotransmitters, they cannot send messages to other nerves, and depression results.

It is well documented that neurochemical imbalances can occur in several members of the same family, which means that if your parent was severely depressed, you may be predisposed to develop a mood disorder. This does not mean that you are destined to inherit a mental illness; however, it does mean that you can take extra precautions as you might eat and exercise more prudently if your father had died at a young age of a heart attack.

Psychological Causes:

Our personalities greatly determine who we are and what we will make of the raw ingredients bequeathed to us through DNA. A resilient individual who is abused in childhood may still grow up unscathed by depression, whereas a chronic worrier or dependent person may succumb to the smallest incidents that rigger a bout of feeling miserable and hopeless. The more often these bouts occur, the more likely a person is to believe he or she is unlucky or deserving of pain. If you think, you should be depressed. Chances are you will be.

Social Causes:

An individual who may be predisposed to be depressed can sometimes rise above it. However, it is far more likely, that being abused, poor, neglected, or separated from loved ones will encourage an already burgeoning depression. It has been found, for example, that older women whose spouses have died and whose family has moved away often develop what is known as a "failure to thrive." When no one needs you and you have no one to nag you about your health or call you to see what your opinion of the weather is, you may, in fact, fall prey to depression, which can, in turn, exacerbate physical symptoms that can lead to illness or death.

There are several types of depression that may stem from either psychological or physiological causes or both. Depression can be unipolar, showing all the above symptoms; or it can be bipolar, where the individual shows first a hopeless, helpless state and then one that is just the opposite. Alternatively, a depression may be triggered by external circumstances, such as a change of seasons. Although the traditional treatments for depression involve medication, all of the manifestations of this syndrome can respond well to natural therapies if you are persistent and motivated to let them work.

Depression in children can be even more difficult to recognise and treat than in adults because it is often masked as difficult childhood behaviour that falls within the acceptable range of - having tantrums or crying, for example. A hyperactive or attention deficit problem may be a symptom of depression. If your child is persistently withdrawn, lacking confidence, not eating or sleeping or socialising properly, it may be a good idea to consult a professional for an evaluation.

Treatments to try:

Bach flower remedies, Breathing, Herbs, Exercise, Nutrition, Supplementation, Meditation, Mindfulness, Prayer, Light therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Self-hypnosis, Tai Chi Chuan, Visualisation, and Yoga.

About this Contributor: Holistic healer, Naturopath and health writer - dbane3@excite.com

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