feelings of severe despondency and dejection (Source: Oxford dictionary)
Before I get into detail I need to let out one thing: the causes for mental illness are not always the same, they vary from individual to individual.
Depressions are one of the most common, but also most underestimated, illnesses. Anyone can suffer from depression, people of every age and in every social position. Depressions show themselves in various ways, such as:
• unhappy-dejected mood,
• loss of interest and joy,
• a reduced drive,
• feelings of guilt and
• persistent sleep and eating disorders.
Depressions can have an impact on an individuals way of thinking, feeling and acting, but can be worked on with the help of prescribed medications and psychotherapy.
The spectrum ranges from mild, seasonal depression to severe depression accompanied by hopelessness and suicidal feelings.
Unlike most illnesses, Depression can not be diagnosed based off of one cause, it is more likely to have several influences working with each other. Depression can be looked at from different bases: psychosocial and neurobiological. One does not necessarily exclude the other but much rather complement each other. This means a depression is not only physically or psychosocial, but in most cases both.
When it comes to behaviour and the psychosocial situation (meaning life experiences, communication with others, living situation and biography) factors, such as trauma or abuse in early life phase, can put individuals at a higher risk for depression later in life. Loss experiences and / or overload situations can as well be causes. And, unlike what most peoples think, positive life changes can be a cause for depressive episodes.
Physically speaking, body changes and especially neurobiological changes in the brain can be, amongst other, causes for depression. Triggers may be current changes in stress hormones or imbalances in other messengers in the brain.
It is well documented that a genetic predisposition plays a role in the onset of depression.
However, there is no single gene that is most responsible for the disease. It can be assumed that there are numerous genetic changes that increase the risk of disease only in the case of an unfavourable constellation.
A variety of studies show that the likelihood of depression over the course of life is three times higher for a person when the parents or siblings suffer from depression.
More research showed that the genes can not explain everything. There must be additional external influences added.
As mentioned before, depression can be treated with therapy and medications such as antidepressants.
If you, or someone you know, suffer from depression; please seek help immediately. You can either find a doctor in your area or, if it is more comfortable, there are several hotlines for people with mental illnesses.
Always remember to try and stay patient, not overstrain yourself, be cautious with (well-meant) advice and do not make important decisions by yourself.