The causes of depression are complex. They combine predisposing and precipitating factors: weakening elements such as personality disorders, family or professional environmental factors, the existence of a somatic or psychic illness (anxiety disorder), the possible role of toxic substances or medication.
Predisposing factors: occurring early in life, may generate vulnerability.
- Genetic factors
- Early emotional trauma: separation, grief, childhood abuse…
Precipitating factors: these are involved in the onset of the disease, having occurred or accumulated in the 6 to 12 months prior to the onset of the disease.
- Chronic stress
- Emotional breakdown
- Family conflict
- Drug or alcohol use or withdrawal
- Harassment at work
- Metabolic diseases: diabetes, thyroid disorders
- Neurological diseases: Parkinson’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis, tumor, brain injury, stroke
- Autoimmune diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis
- Viral diseases: HIV, viral hepatitis
- Chronic diseases: chronic pain
- Medications: some antihypertensive drugs, corticosteroid therapies, some immune therapies (interferon), hormone therapies
- Generalized anxiety, phobic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders
- Mental disorders: neurotic or psychotic traits
- Other psychiatric illnesses: schizophrenia
Research and eventual treatment of these causes is crucial in order to increase the chances of recovery and decrease recurrence and relapse.