Approximately one in 10 American adults suffer from depression. Clinical depression – or what is more commonly referred to as major depression – is a very complex disorder that is brought on by a variety of factors.

1.  Genetics:

A family history of depression in parents or siblings increases an individual’s chance of becoming depressed. However, this could be due to a recently isolated “depression gene” or environmental factors. For example, if a child grows up with someone who suffers from depression, they are more susceptible to the disorder.

2.  Stressful events:

Chronic stress can create major depression by not allowing the body to shut down and reboot. Some of these events may include going through a divorce or romantic turmoil, the death of a loved one, becoming a caregiver, or losing a job. Even good events can create undue stress like graduating, getting married, or retiring.

3.  Medical illness:

Many people with chronic illnesses become depressed making it one of the most common complications. Examples of some of these conditions are people with diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, HIV/Aids, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or cancer.

4.  Trauma or abuse:

Studies show that people who experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child are at much greater risk of suffering from depression as adults. The same is true for someone who has witnessed or suffered a traumatic or life-threatening event – also known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5.  Social isolation:

Social isolation or chronic loneliness has a very significant effect on depression. While lack of interaction with others is more common in older adults, it can happen at any age with damaging results. Social isolation may also be the result of conflict with family and/or friends.

6.  Medications:

Many medications list depression as a possible side effect because they can alter brain chemicals in a negative way and cause feelings of sadness or despair. Some of those may include prescriptions for high blood pressure, seizures, and asthma. Oral contraceptives and statins (for high cholesterol) have also been associated with depression, as well as acne medication.

7.  Work – life imbalance:

Almost one-quarter of the American population experiences extreme levels of stress trying to juggle work and family. Other contributing factors are finances, job security or unemployment, and unrealistic expectations. Any of these can cause depression and take away quality time for family, friends, exercise, sleep, and fun activities.

8.  Substance abuse:

Substance abuse and alcohol addiction are very common for people who battling depression. In fact, statistics show that one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drugs also suffer from depression. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous combination as depressed individuals try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol that can actually cause depression.

Click HERE for a better understanding of What Depression Looks Like, including the different symptoms and types of depression. If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from major depression, please contact a qualified mental health professional who can recommend the best course of treatment after a comprehensive evaluation and help bring balance back into life.

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