Depression is a painful, complex condition often brought on by multiple factors. But where does it come from? How does it start? I’ve outlined four of the most common causes of depression below: family history, painful life event, chronic stress and accomplishment.
Common Causes of Depression:
#1 – Family history
If someone else in your family–especially your biological parents or siblings–suffers from depression, you may be more likely to struggle with depression at some point in your life. You may inherit a genetic tendency toward depression. In addition, being raised by a depressed parent forms a powerful imprint in and of itself, regardless of inherited chemistry. Various family patterns can contribute to multiple members of the family suffering depressive symptoms.
#2 – Painful life event
Significant losses such as a divorce, getting laid off, or losing a loved one can trigger a bout of depression. Although sadness is a normal, healthy response to such losses, some people struggle to make a full recovery. Feelings triggered by temporary setbacks can turn into depression, as can grief.
#3 – Chronic stress
Challenging life circumstances such as an unhappy marriage, a stressful job, or an ongoing medical condition, can take their toll over time. You may feel emotionally, mentally or physically drained by dealing with a seemingly unrelenting situation. Untreated, chronic feelings of stress, frustration or anger can eventually evolve into clinical depression.
#4 – Accomplishment
Ironically, sometimes achieving your life goals can trigger depression. Maybe after years of anticipation, you finally get that big promotion, or get married, or move into your dream home. Sometimes the experience of getting what you want doesn’t match your expectations. You may find yourself disappointed or confused after accomplishing some major goal, wondering why you don’t feel more satisfied or fulfilled. This unexpected feeling of disorientation can lead to depression.
Regardless what led to your causes of depression, counseling is often an ideal place to begin treatment. After helping you evaluate the various factors that contributed to your depressive episode, your counselor will assist you in forming new approaches to your life challenges. She may help you with goal setting, exercise habits, relationship boundaries, career strategies, or any other area you feel needs work. In some cases, your counselor may suggest you speak with a medication provider to consider medication as an additional treatment option. However you ended up feeling down or discouraged, depression can be treated. There is hope. A mental health professional can help you on your road to recovery.