Specialty Behavioral Health

What causes depression?

Scientists have found that there are multiple causes of depression. There is good evidence to suggest that biological factors play an important role. For example, women can become severely depressed following childbirth due to hormonal changes. Research also shows that depressive disorders run in families indicating that people can be genetically predisposed. It also appears that environmental factors also play a major role. For example, experiencing trauma early in childhood increases a person’s risk for developing a depressive disorder.

Other environmental factors associated with depression include lack of social support, decreased exposure to bright light, and lack of physical exercise. Finally, a strong body of research shows that unhealthy behavioral and thought patterns can cause and sustain depressive disorders. For example, behavioral patterns that lack adequate structure or social involvement and thought patterns that are excessively pessimistic or self-blaming are associated with depression.

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