What Causes Depression?

It’s no secret that depression causes feelings of guilt, worthlessness, lethargy, and hopelessness, but what causes depression? If we understand the causes of depression then we are more likely to be able to find a solution to defeat it.

What Causes Depression?

It is difficult to boil depression down to one root cause, but there are numerous factors, or stressors, that could lead a person to experience depression. For some, traumatic or distressing life events—such as grief, loss, illness, monotony, divorce, financial troubles, or moving—can generate feelings of depression. Depression can be a chronic illness and there is some debate as to whether or not depression is genetic.

In the interview below, I spoke with Carrie Wrigley, a therapist with years of experience working with clients who struggle with various forms of depression. I asked her if depression was a genetic condition and she offered some powerful insight:

 Alternatively, I was intrigued by M. Scott Peck’s belief that depression is sometimes the result of what we experience as we are giving up our “old self.” In The Road Less Traveled, he wrote:

“Since mentally healthy human beings must grow, and since giving up or loss of the old self is an integral part of the process of mental and spiritual growth, depression is a normal and basically healthy phenomenon. It becomes abnormal or unhealthy only when something interferes with the giving-up process, with the result that the depression is prolonged and cannot be resolved by completion of the process.”

 Fascinating thought! Part of growing up means letting go of the old and accepting the new. The times when I have been the most depressed have been the times when I have tried to hold on to the past—but the past cannot be held. As a result of my inability to recapture what is lost, I become depressed.

 Solutions for Depression

While it’s difficult to determine one root cause of depression, there are numerous ways of treating depression and lessoning the severity of its symptoms. First and foremost, if your battle with depression is persistent and severe, it is imperative that you seek professional, medical help. Depression is an illness and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Treat depression as you would treat a broken bone. You wouldn’t hide a broken bone from a doctor, you would take it to a doctor so that he could mend it.

Please click here to read 9 Ways to Fight Depression (and Win!)

About the author

Seth Adam Smith

Seth Adam Smith is a best-selling, award-winning author and blogger whose writings have been translated into over thirty languages and featured on Huffington Post, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, the Today Show, and many other news outlets around the world.

A survivor of a suicide attempt in 2006, Seth is an advocate for resources and understanding concerning depression and suicide prevention and regularly writes about these topics in his books and on his blog. He recently finished "Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern," and is currently working on a series of historical novels set in Colonial America.

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