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
  • Grief
  • Emotional breakdown
  • Family conflict
  • Drug or alcohol use or withdrawal
  • Unemployment
  • Harassment at work
  • Retirement
  • 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.