Most people assume that depression is caused simply by recent personal difficulties. Depression however, is often caused by the mix of recent events and other longer-term or personal risk factors such as genetics.
Research indicates that ongoing difficulties, such as living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, or long-term unemployment are more likely to cause depression than recent life stressors. Depression can also run in families and some people will be at increased genetic risk. However, having a family history doesn't mean that you will automatically become depressed if a parent or close relative has had the illness. Life circumstances are still likely to have an important influence on your chances of becoming ill.
It is common for people to experience depression and anxiety at the same time.
Common medical causes of depression include:
• Some forms of cancer
• Low thyroid function
• Brain injuries and diseases (eg. stroke, heart disease, head injury, epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease)
• Quitting smoking.
• Blood vessel disease in the brain due to diabetes and/or hypertension
• Some steroid and hormonal treatments
• Infectious diseases
• Chronic pain
High-risk personality being:
• A lifelong worrier
• A perfectionist
• Sensitive to personal criticism
• Shy, socially anxious and having low self-esteem.
• Self-critical and negative
Common tests done by a doctor include:
• Full blood count and biochemistry
• Urine test for sugar and protein
• Thyroid function tests
• Occasionally, a brain scan.
It's important to note that you can't always identify the cause of depression nor change troubling circumstances. The most important thing is to recognise the depression and to seek help.
Remember, the sooner you get treatment, the greater the chance of a faster recovery.