Let me start by providing a brief description of what I, as a Clinical Psychologist, would describe as depression. In psychology the official term for depression is a Major Depressive Disorder, part of the cluster of Mood disorders. Without dissolving in very clinical language there are a few criteria a person
Back to the original question: which factors are involved in developing depression symptoms? To answer this question we have to take a closer look at different areas of possible causes: biological, psychological and social factors. Biological factors refer to your heritage of genes and hormonal metabolism which can cause a vulnerability to develop depression symptoms. In your genetic make-up you could inherit a sensitivity for depression. In general, biology definitely plays a role but isn’t exclusive in causing a depression. This is where psychological and social factors come into play, such as circumstances, personality, modelling, social support, and timing. To explain this in more detail read the following example of Mary, an imaginary woman:
“Mary has noticed a change in her mood in the last few weeks. She can’t enjoy the activities with her children as much as she used to. And her husband mentioned a change in her behaviour as well. She used to be quite active and energetic but lately everything seems too much, even little things like walking the dog. She is easily agitated and teary. Reflecting on her past year she describes it as a tough one. In the beginning of the year her mother became very ill so she took on a huge part of the care for her. Juggling care for her mother, part time work and care for the children left almost no time for friends and her own hobbies. This continued for months. After her position was made redundant at her workplace Mary realised she had been exhausted and down for quite a while but never had time to notice this. While sitting at home suffering from depression she feels guilty for not being able to find a new job or even manage the household. Mary is staggered she is experiencing these feeling because in the past she has always been able to cope with challenging situations. It feels like her battery is empty and doesn’t recharge anymore.”
As you can read sometimes the overall conclusion to the question of why people have developed a depression is timing: you might or might not have the biological vulnerability to develop depressive symptoms, but when your circumstances are causing stress to several aspects of your life, all at the same time, it can be hard to stay afloat. Usually depression doesn’t follow the rules of logic. It’s not as simple as adding up a few factors but it’s the interaction between biology, personality, social support, circumstances and timing. Depression can be seen as a result of the unbalance between resilience and stress. Working on restoring this unbalance by understanding the contributing factors and learning new skills to cope with your circumstances will improve your resilience and will reduce the depression symptoms. This is the focus and aim of our therapy approach for depression.
Are you recognising the symptoms in this blog and would you like to receive professional help for depression to improve your psychological health? Give us a call to get more information or to book your appointment.
Depression: it doesn’t need to be you anymore!