Causes of Depression: Genetics, Illness, Abuse, and More

There is growing evidence that depression is in part an illness with a biological basis. It is more common in individuals with close relatives who have been depressed. Research on the physiology of the nervous system suggests that the level of activity of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and serotonin, changes in longstanding depression: Antidepressant medicines probably work by correcting a "chemical imbalance" of this kind. One type of imbalance is associated with bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression), characterized by dramatic mood swings from depression to irritability or euphoria and other symptoms. A number of physical illnesses can also lead to depression: An examination by a medical clinician may be helpful to rule out medical causes of depressive symptoms.

What Are the Main Causes of Depression
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Friends and family may provide all the support that is needed in mild cases of depression. Having someone who is willing to listen and ask concerned questions can make all the difference. However, even the most caring and involved friends or family members may not be enough when depression is more severe. In such cases, it is important to seek professional help.

12 Surprising Causes of Depression

It is impossible to pinpoint the exact cause or causes of the depression, but many attempts have been made.
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Though the U.S. economy had gone into depression six months earlier, the GreatDepression may be said to have begun with a catastrophic collapse of stock-market priceson the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929. During the next three years stock pricesin the United States continued to fall, until by late 1932 they had dropped to only about20 percent of their value in 1929. Besides ruining many thousands of individual investors,this precipitous decline in the value of assets greatly strained banks and other financialinstitutions, particularly those holding stocks in their portfolios. Many banks wereconsequently forced into insolvency; by 1933, 11,000 of the United States' 25,000 bankshad failed. The failure of so many banks, combined with a general and nationwide loss ofconfidence in the economy, led to much-reduced levels of spending and demand and hence ofproduction, thus aggravating the downward spiral. The result was drastically fallingoutput and drastically rising unemployment; by 1932, U.S. manufacturing output had fallento 54 percent of its 1929 level, and unemployment had risen to between 12 and 15 millionworkers, or 25-30 percent of the work force.

BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Causes of the Depression

The Great Depression had important consequences in the political sphere. In the UnitedStates, economic distress led to the election of the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt to thepresidency in late 1932. Roosevelt introduced a number of major changes in the structureof the American economy, using increased government regulation and massive public-worksprojects to promote a recovery. But despite this active intervention, mass unemploymentand economic stagnation continued, though on a somewhat reduced scale, with about 15percent of the work force still unemployed in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. Afterthat, unemployment dropped rapidly as American factories were flooded with orders fromoverseas for armaments and munitions. The depression ended completely soon after theUnited States' entry into World War II in 1941. In Europe, the Great Depressionstrengthened extremist forces and lowered the prestige of liberal democracy. In Germany,economic distress directly contributed to Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The Nazis'public-works projects and their rapid expansion of munitions production ended theDepression there by 1936.

Causes of Great Depression - CAST

At least in part, the Great Depression was caused by underlying weaknesses andimbalances within the U.S. economy that had been obscured by the boom psychology andspeculative euphoria of the 1920s. The Depression exposed those weaknesses, as it did theinability of the nation's political and financial institutions to cope with the viciousdownward economic cycle that had set in by 1930. Prior to the Great Depression,governments traditionally took little or no action in times of business downturn, relyinginstead on impersonal market forces to achieve the necessary economic correction. Butmarket forces alone proved unable to achieve the desired recovery in the early years ofthe Great Depression, and this painful discovery eventually inspired some fundamentalchanges in the United States' economic structure. After the Great Depression, governmentaction, whether in the form of taxation, industrial regulation, public works, socialinsurance, social-welfare services, or deficit spending, came to assume a principal rolein ensuring economic stability in most industrial nations with market economies.

A main cause of the Great Depression was overproduction

But sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events (such as death or divorce), side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns.