What Are the Causes of Depression?

Many People Suffer with Depression in the USA

Depression is a common disorder, which is growing in prevalence with each passing year. Each and every one of us suffers from sadness and grief in our lives — probably on a number of occasions throughout our lifetimes. It affects children, adults and senior citizens. It can be short-lived for a few months and fairly mild or it can become chronic and debilitating.

Up to 30 million people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with a depressive disorder. It’s impossible to know how many millions of cases are not ever identified or diagnosed. Depression is one of the most common illnesses in the USA. This makes it all the more important for us to better understand this condition.

Effective depression treatment exists however what many folks want to know is why it occurs so frequently.

Why Do People Get Depressed?

Basically, there are 5 ways humans become depressed:

  1. Tragic Life Events: Many adults get depressed as a natural reaction to a painful event in our life. Experiences happen that affect us emotionally, mentally and physically in a depressive way. If the event is mild then the sadness lasts for a short time. Some stressful events accumulate over time and cause depression. However, some experiences are traumatic and overwhelming and they really set us back and disturb us psychologically for an extended period of time. Such stressful situations include divorce, death of a loved one, job loss or unemployment, relocating one’s home, loss of a friend, big disappointments, chronic or terminal illness or unexpected change. Some of these events may be rooted in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, deprivation, abandonment and other serious stressors.
  2. Chemical Reaction: A chemical imbalance or toxicity can occur in the brain and results in moderate or serious symptoms associated to depression mood.
  3. Inheritance: Genetics and family history can be a contributor. Depressive states can be biologically inherited and there can be a history of depression across generations within a family.
  4. Physical Illness: Medical illness can also set-off depression. A physical injury or disability, or a chronic or life-threatening illness can easily trigger a depression response.
  5. Drug and Medication Side Effects: Side-effects of medications and substance abuse (legal and illegal) can cause a chemically induced depression.

Two Basic Causes of Depression

As you can see, there are two distinct causes of depression:

  1. Some depressions are caused by physical and chemical reactions
  2. Other depressions may be caused by life experiences or psychological reactions

Differentiating Physical Depression from Psychological Depression

I am a psychologist and know more about psychological depressions. However, I need to know about the physical/chemical depressions as well because I need to be able to differentiate between the two causes of depression.

I have been trained in differential diagnosis of depression because different causes can determine different types of symptoms and treatment. I don’t want to be providing talk therapy for a person with a serious medical illness who needs medicine and physicians shouldn’t treat all depressions as a physical illness with psychiatric medications.

Most of these causes you have no control over. It may not be your fault and the cause of your depression may be challenging to understand or pinpoint.


For more information, read my other blog articles about Depression, including: What Are the Different Types of Depression?; How Do I Select a Therapist for My Depression?; How Do I Determine If I Need Depression Counseling?; How Do I Find Relief If I Am Depressed?; Why Is Depression So Common in the USA?; Is Depression a Common Problem in the USA?; How Does Depression Manifest Itself in Human Beings?; What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Major Depression?; What Are the Different Types of Depression?


Learn more about my Depression Counseling services here:  http://www.drrevelmiller.com/what-we-treat/depression-counseling/


I have had lots of experience diagnosing and treating people with depression. I’m here to help. Please don’t continue to suffer needlessly and Call Me Soon (805-448-5053) for a consultation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email