It's not known exactly what causes atypical depression. As with other types of depression, a combination of factors may be involved. These include:

  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. When these chemicals are out of balance, it may lead to depression symptoms.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose biological (blood) relatives also have the condition.
  • Life events. Events such as the death or loss of a loved one, financial problems, and high stress can trigger depression in some people.
  • Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse or loss of a parent, may cause changes in the brain that make you more susceptible to depression.
Sep. 20, 2012

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