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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Barsky

Where Does Depression Come From? What to Know About Possible Causes

To an extent, we all endure trauma. Traumatic experiences can be anything from playground bullying to surviving an assault to witnessing a natural disaster. Research continues to suggest that adverse life events like long-term unemployment, abuse, neglect, isolation, and work stress all contribute to depression.

Depression has a multitude of potential causes, but there is a link between depression and trauma that is undeniable. Other potential causes of depression include family history and drug and alcohol use. How depression presents itself in your life can depend on where it’s rooted.

Exploring the links between depression and its causes can help you better determine your best course of care.

Where Does Depression Come From?

Depression is a complex mental illness and can have many contributing factors. Some of the suspected causes of depression are:


Family histories of depression seem to increase the risk of depression. There may be several genes that have a slight effect on our genetic code that can cause this illness.

Psychological illnesses passed through genetics are more complicated than other genetic diseases. This topic is still being thoroughly researched to help us better understand the correlations.

Abuse and Neglect

Depression is largely driven by a lack of self-worth. So it’s no surprise that abuse and neglect as children, which lowers our self-esteem, are large contributors to depression.

It’s often found that depression is more closely linked with distant abusive events, especially those experienced as children. This is especially true if we endure abuse or neglect over a long period.

Traumatic Events

Traumatic events sometimes trigger depression and may even lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD and depression disorders can exist at the same time. Examples of what might cause this include:

  • Loss of a loved one, especially loss of a child

  • Ending a relationship, like in a divorce

  • Losing your job or undergoing financial hardship

  • Physical or sexual assault or harassment

  • Major changes like having a child or getting married

  • Racism, sexism, and other forms of bullying

What to Know About Causes of Depression

Understanding the causes of depression is the first step to a diagnosis. Then you can develop the self-awareness and coping mechanisms you need.

Beyond that, if you feel you are suffering from symptoms of depression like persistent a low mood, or if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, it is extremely important to seek help.

You Are Not at Fault

Regardless of the cause of your depression, you are not at fault. Your genetics, the abuse you endured, or the trauma were beyond your control. This is often scary or sad to think about, but it’s another step in acknowledging your illness so you can start healing.

You Are Capable

Part of healing your depression is learning about and using healthy coping mechanisms. Whenever we undergo trauma, we survive however we can. Sometimes that means developing coping mechanisms that are protective at the time, like drug use or alcohol.

Alternative, or additional, coping mechanisms like breathing exercises and journaling can help you process your trauma. Consider group therapy sessions where you can talk with other survivors about the coping mechanisms that work for them.

You Are Worthy of Help

Depression is a wicked illness because it convinces you that you’re unworthy. This isn’t true. You are worthy of the help you need to get through your healing process.

The help of a professional therapist is shown to help people vastly improve their mental health. If you’re struggling, reach out to me today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.

For information on depression treatment, click here.


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