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  • Jayne Green (B.Ed;M.Ed)

"Unraveling the Depths: What Really Triggers Depression"

Possible causes for Depression, include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function, including the altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

These are some of the possible factors that can be related to depression:-

  1. Biological Factors:

    • Genetics: Some disorders might have a genetic component, making individuals with a family history more susceptible.

  • Neurochemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that facilitate communication between nerve cells, can influence mood and behavior. For example, imbalances in serotonin, dopamine, and Norepinephrine are linked to mood disorders.

  • Brain Structure and Functioning: Abnormalities in the structure or function of certain brain areas can be associated with various disorders. For example, the Amygdala's hyperactivity has been associated with anxiety disorders.

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Disorders in the endocrine system, especially thyroid disorders or imbalances in stress hormones like cortisol, can influence mental health.

  1. Psychological Factors:

    • Trauma: Experiencing traumatic events, especially during childhood, can increase the risk of developing a variety of disorders.

  • Cognitive Patterns: Pessimistic thinking styles, low self-esteem, or feelings of helplessness can contribute to disorders like depression.

  • Learned Behavior: Some disorders might emerge or be reinforced through learned behavior, especially if maladaptive behaviors are continually rewarded or if they serve as coping mechanisms.

  1. Social Factors:

    • Environment: Growing up in a chaotic environment, facing consistent discrimination or bullying, or other social stressors can play a role in the onset of mental disorders.

  • Cultural Expectations: Society's pressures or expectations can lead to stress, feelings of inadequacy, or other negative emotions.

  • Isolation: Lack of social support or feelings of isolation can exacerbate mental health issues.

  • Life Events: Major life changes, whether they're negative (like losing a loved one) or even positive (like getting a new job), can contribute to mental distress.

Research into the brain has provided insights into how these factors might influence brain function:

  • Altered Neural Circuit Activity: The brain is a network of interconnected regions. Disruptions in the normal patterns of communication, or changes in the strength of connections (synaptic plasticity), can influence mental health.

  • Brain Plasticity: The brain is adaptive, but certain experiences can lead to maladaptive changes. For example, prolonged stress can reduce the size of the hippocampus, a region crucial for memory and emotion.

  • Inflammatory Responses: There's increasing evidence that inflammation can play a role in disorders like depression. This might be due to immune system dysregulation or other factors.

Recognizing the interplay of these factors is crucial for understanding mental health disorders. It highlights the importance of a holistic approach to treatment that considers not just biological interventions (like medication) but also psychological and social interventions (like therapy or community support).

Jayne Green (B.Ed; M.Ed)




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