What causes depression??


Just like when we are all feeling down, sometimes there is an obviously cause of depression – things like major disappointments, frustrations, changes or losing something or someone important to you.

But there are also a number of other things that can contribute to the onset of depression. Different people will experience different causes and sometimes it will be a combination of things. Here are a few of the things that can be factors in depression –

Major events in our life

We all experience distressing events in our lives and it is quite natural to feel depressed for a period of time afterwards. Things like death of someone close to us, divorce, losing a job etc. Often in these cases we will eventually come to terms with this event and start to feel better on our own but this may be after a few weeks or even months of feeling depressed.


This on its own can be a cause of depression, or can be a factor that contributes to the effect of other causes.

Physical Illness

Illness doesn’t need to serious to be a contributing factor in depression. Obviously serious illness like cancer or other life threatening illness can play a part, but so can less serious, but long and uncomfortable illnesses. Depression in young people is common after infections such as flu or glandular fever.

Chemical Imbalances

Clinical depression is when the brain is releasing too many or too little of our ‘feel good’ chemicals. When there are not enough of these chemicals being released a person will feel sad NO MATTER WHAT. Chemical imbalances are the major causes of depression.

There are many other things that can contribute to the onset of depression. More info can be found at the sites below.

Lifeline Australia (24 hr hotline – 13 11 14)

To Write Love on Her Arms


Black Dog Institute

More from me on depression here.

2 thoughts on “What causes depression??

  1. thanks again for this, Kate.

    Just a thought, but perhaps it is useful for us to distinguish between those things which cause or predispose one towards depression – so, for example, you mention that fact that it is a physiological thing – and those that are “triggers”, such as a major stress or likewise?

  2. Thanks David, thats helpful.

    The research I have been doing seems to suggest that there are two types of depression (apart from more severe conditions like bi-polar and manic depression, which I’m not dealing with at the point).
    Depression that is caused by things like events and life circumstances is not always physiological, and can sometimes (but not always) resolve itself after a period of time.
    Clinical depression is physiological and can be triggered by life events but thats not always the case. It’s usually something that last for long periods of time and is treated with anti-depressants.

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