It's not known exactly what causes depression. A variety of factors may be involved. These include:
Nov. 07, 2012
- Biological 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.
- Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.
- Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose biological (blood) relatives also have the condition.
- Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as physical or emotional abuse, or loss of a parent, may cause changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to depression.
- Learned patterns of negative thinking. Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel helpless — rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life's challenges.
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- Adjustment disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 13, 2012.
- Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
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- FAQs on child and adolescent depression. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/child_and_adolescent_depression_resource_center/faqs_on_child_and_adolescent_depression#What%20causes%20depression%20in%20children?. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Overview of treatment for adolescent depression. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Depression in adolescents: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- McCaffrey R, et al. Garden walking and art therapy for depression in older adults: A pilot study. Research in Gerontological Nursing. 2011;4:237.
- McDowell AK, et al. Practical suicide-risk management for the busy primary care physician. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011;8:792.
- Understanding major depression. National Alliance on Mental Health. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?section=Search&Template=Search/SearchDisplay.cfm. Accessed June 20, 2012.
- Schreiber J, et al. Suicidal ideation and behavior in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Carpenter DJ. St. John's wort and S-adenosyl amethione as "natural" alternatives to conventional antidepressants in the era of the suicidality boxed warning: What is the evidence for clinically relevant benefit? Alternative Medicine Review. 2011;16:17.
- Understanding suicide: Fact sheet 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pub/Suicide_factsheet.html. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- When you fear someone may take their life. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?page_id=f2f25092-7e90-9bd4-c4658f1d2b5d19a0. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Cizza G, et al. Clinical subtypes of depression are associated with specific metabolic parameters and circadian endocrine profiles in women: The power study. Plos One. 2012;7:e28912. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028912. Accessed June 19, 2012.
- Pae C, et al. Atypical depression: A comprehensive review. CNS Drugs. 2009;2:1023.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=13381. Accessed June 20, 2012.
- Parker G, et al. Will a new genotyping test help the clinician predict response to antidepressant drugs? Australasian Psychiatry. 2010;18:413.
- Hourani LL, et al. Influence of spirituality on depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicidality in active duty military personnel. Depression Research and Treatment. 2012;2012:e1. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/2012/425463/. Accessed Aug. 28, 2012.
- Depression and complementary health practices: What the science says. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dec. 2011. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/depression-science.htm. Accessed May 10, 2012.
- Croarkin PE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 3, 2012.
- Olsen MW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 6, 2012.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 8, 2012.
- Marchand WR. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression. Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 2012;18:233.
- Tanyi RA, et al. The effects of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) based lifestyle intervention in modifying the progression of depression in clinically depressed adults. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 2011;42:151.
- Wu J, et al. Acupuncture for depression: A review of clinical applications. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;57:397.
- Chi J, et al. Tai chi and reduction of depressive symptoms for older adults: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. Geriatrics & Gerontology International. In press. Accessed Aug. 28, 2012.
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- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 24, 2012.
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