Researchers and depressed individuals alike have noted that depression often runs through more than one generation of a family. Scientists believe that sometimes genetics can influence the likelihood of becoming depressed.
The precise manner of how genes work to cause depression isn’t completely understood yet, however. Intriguingly, they suspect that different genes can cause depression in different ways. Anxiety disorders may also have a genetic component.
Early Childhood Environment
Genetics aside, one’s experiences during childhood can contribute to depression. Growing up in a dysfunctional, turbulent family can lead to many emotional struggles.
Sadly, parents aren’t always able to provide a stable, nurturing environment kids need for healthy psychological development. Abuse, trauma, neglect, parental addiction, relationship drama, and stress during these years are harmful in more ways than one.
You can see that this is another way in which depression can run in families. If one generation can’t provide for the emotional needs of its children, the cycle can easily continue.
Stress, Trauma, and Loss
Chronic stress or acute trauma and loss can sideline even the most emotionally resilient person. Trying to keep up with a demanding job, caring for a family, and the many associated responsibilities can take a toll.
One’s health crisis or that of a family member likewise can cause emotional distress. Significant changes such as divorce, death, job loss, or moving, often lead to grief. This response is normal, of course, but if grief becomes overwhelming and prolonged, treatment for depression is appropriate.
Underlying Physiological Reasons
Sometimes, depression or depression-like symptoms have underlying physiological causes. An underactive thyroid can contribute to depression.
The fluctuating hormones associated with the menstrual cycle can also wreak havoc with a woman’s emotions.
Likewise, the hormones present during pregnancy and after delivery can cause depression. Men can also experience hormone changes or deficiencies that contribute to depression.
Vitamin deficiencies are another possible physiological cause. Vitamins B12 and D are vital for energy and mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can occur in the winter months when sunlight is limited, and our bodies don’t receive as much natural Vitamin D.
Low iron can also create depression-like symptoms such as fatigue.
Consuming too much sugar and processed food also doesn’t help. Our bodies need whole nutrition that will support the proper functioning of our systems.
Unfortunately, sometimes even a doctor or therapist will miss part of the depression puzzle as well. As we’ve discussed, there are many causes. Ask for a full physical with labs to look for underlying causes.
Untangling the cause of depression can seem complicated. Thankfully, no matter the reason, many treatment options are available. Therapy, exercise, support groups, yoga, medication and more are proven ways of finding relief.
No matter what has caused your depression, it’s crucial to get help early. Addressing it sooner rather than later can keep it from worsening.
Even if you feel stuck and hopeless, please know that healing is possible. I have experience in helping those with depression move forward into a brighter future. Together, we can address your symptoms and provide you with invaluable skills and resources. Please reach out today.