Causes of depression vary greatly. There is both temporary depression that results from life events, and also long-term depression that is the consequence of specific neurochemical imbalances. The latter kind of depression is the kind that will be discussed here. To understand the causes of depression, one must first know a little about neurotransmitters – our brain’s neurochemicals.
The causes of depression are linked to the brain’s neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the neurochemical messengers within the nervous system that transmit nerve impulses throughout the nervous system. There are different types of neurotransmitters that cause us to experience various feelings and sensations. For example, some neurotransmitters cause us to feel relaxed (e.g. GABA neurotransmitters) while other neurotransmitters transmit the sensation of agitation (e.g. glutamate neurotransmitters). We have many different types of these neurotransmitters, and they all serve important functions throughout daily life.
Each individual is born with certain amounts of each kind of neurotransmitter. Imbalances amongst these neurotransmitters account for the causes of depression. When someone is born with too little serotonin, for example, it is highly likely that this person will suffer from depression. People with depression often have genetic imbalances within their serotonin, dopamine, and/or noradrenaline neurotransmitter systems. Many people are born with these imbalances, but there are individuals who have created the imbalance through substance abuse. Whatever the case, there are medications that can correct these neurotransmitter imbalances, combating the causes of depression and helping individuals to escape depression, and even leave behind habits of substance abuse.