Causes of Depression
There are many theories about what causes depression, as this article from the National Institute of Mental Health shows. I do agree that it's important to find out what usually causes depression, and I can even shed a little light on what causes it for me.
Be Warned: Sometimes There IS No Cause
Focusing on finding a cause for depression, however, can lead to blaming the sufferer, and I want to strongly caution against this. For the non-sufferer, refrain from asking questions like "Well, what did YOU DO to feel this way?" "Why do YOU FEEL this way?" "Why did YOU NOT THINK differently when you started feeling this way, to stop yourself?" Blaming the victim of a depressive episode for feeling depressed will help nothing and no one, but it will almost certainly make the depressive episode WORSE.
With depression, sometimes there is nothing that could have been done to ward it off. Sometimes it just happens and it's no one's fault, just like cancer sometimes just occurs without ever having been exposed to a carcinogen. It's just something that must be dealt with, and part of dealing with depression is exploring all avenues of possible causation.
Possible Causes of Depression
That all being said, here are some possible causes of depression, both from my personal experience and from research:
- Emotional/physical trauma
- Sudden disability
- Family strife
- Illness/infirmity (especially long-term)
- Grief over the loss of a loved one (including a pet)
- Excessive household clutter
- Infidelity or other marital problems
- Growing apart from friends
- Job stress
- Financial worries
- Predisposition/genetic tendency towards depression, anxiety or paranoia
- Brain chemical imbalance