OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

What causes Depression?

Depression can have several causes:

  • Environmental influences. Life events such as loss of health or status, relationships ending, death of loved ones, and failure or disappointment can trigger depression. Difficult family, social, or work environments can cause depression.
  • Biochemical factors. Chemical imbalances in the brain can cause depression, as do certain medications, infections, and illnesses.
  • Personality. People who are self-critical and demanding, or those who are dependent and passive, may be prone to depression.
  • Genetic patterns. Research indicates depression tends to run in families.
  • Drugs and Alcohol. Substance use often results in depressed mood either as a direct result or as a withdrawal effect.
  • Seasonal depression. Some people get depressed during dark winter months.
  • Negative attitudes. Viewing yourself and the world in a negative manner can lead to depression.

Below is a list of Attitude and Thought Patterns that are related to a pattern of depressed mood.

  • All or Nothing Thinking, where everything is viewed as either black or white.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: events, situations, and the reactions of others are immediately interpreted negatively.
  • Magnification: exaggerating the importance of things (such as mistakes you've made) until they are completely blown out of proportion.
  • Minimizing: shrinking your own good points and accomplishments.
  • Emotional Reasoning: assuming that negative emotions reflect the way things really are. "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

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