Causes of depression

There is no single cause of depression, it’s often a combination of factors. It can be different for different people, and for many there is no clear reason. Some possible causes include:

  • Hormones – Changes in natural hormones can affect your mood. Many women notice these changes during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. If you have low levels of certain B vitamins, such as B12, you are more at risk of developing depression
  • Family – Depression can be passed down through your genes
  • Environment – Problems during your childhood and stressful events such as bereavement can increase your chances of having depression
  • Lifestyle – Some studies have shown that not having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, smoking, alcohol and doing things you enjoy can have a negative effect on your mental health
  • Other illnesses – You may feel low if you have a physical illness. This risk might be higher if you have a long-term or life-threatening illness. Some people with brain injuries and dementia will also experience changes in their moods
  • Grief – Losing someone or something you care about can cause complex emotions which can lead to an episode of depression. Find out more about grief and how it can affect people.

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