A Summary of the above (before going on to a comprehensive description of Depression
on a separate page)
Generally, the suggestion is that depression is a medical illness - some bio-neuro-chemical
problem, without psychological causes (psychological, as in internal responses to external
events and circumstances).
However, all psychological problems have some physical manifestations, and all physical
illnesses have psychological components as well.
So, while there may be some biological factors that contribute to depression, the indicators
- In fact, the chemical imbalances that occur during depression usually disappear when
you complete therapy for depression, without taking any medications to correct the
- This suggests that the imbalance is the body's physical response to psychological
depression, rather than the other way around.
- Some types of depression do seem to run in families, suggesting a biological
vulnerability. This seems to be the case with bipolar depression and, to a lesser
degree, severe major depression.
- Studies of families, in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder,
found that those with bipolar disorder have a somewhat different genetic makeup than
those who are not diagnosed.
- However, the reverse is not true. Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes
this vulnerability to bipolar disorder develops the disorder.
- Additional factors, such as stress and other psychological factors, are involved in its
onset as well.
- Likewise, major depression also seems to occur, generation after generation, in some
families, but not with a frequency that suggests clear biological causes. Additionally, it
also occurs in people who have no family history of depression.
are that it is primarily a psychological disorder.
A variety of psychological factors appear to play a role in vulnerability to these severe forms
- Most likely, psychological factors are completely responsible for other forms of mild
and moderate depression, especially reactive depression.
- During treatment, Reactive depression is usually diagnosed as an adjustment disorder.
- People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world
with pessimism, or who are readily overwhelmed by stress are more prone to
SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT (Learned Behaviour)
Psychologists often describe social learning factors as being significant in the development
of depression, as well as other psychological problems.
- People learn both adaptive and maladaptive ways of managing stress and responding
to life problems within their family, educational, social and work environments.
- These environmental factors influence psychological development, and the way people
try to resolve problems when they occur.
- Social learning factors also explain why psychological problems appear to occur more
often in family members, from generation to generation.
- If a child grows up in a pessimistic environment, in which discouragement is common
and encouragement is rare, that child will develop a vulnerability to depression as well.
- A serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial
setback, or any unwelcome life change can trigger a depressive episode.
OTHER (1): INDECISION
- One frequently overlooked cause or factor is related to the psychological one: it is
when a person is faced with having to make a decision, or choice between two or
more things/people - and not liking either of the choices. It is when they avoid the
choice or defer it, that the problem arises - for some reason, human emotional-mental
functions do not handle indecision well - especially if on a prolonged basis - and the
condition we know as depression often results.
- Hopelessness (having given up, or lost, hope.
- Also, certain events & holidays, such as Christmas can bring on a temporary
depression. So will bereavement and loss.
OTHER (2): ANGER
It is widely recognized that some forms of depression are actually anger that is "masked" or
CONCLUSION (this section on depression)
Very often, a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors are
involved in the development of depressive disorders, as well as other psychological
When you feel "depressed", and don't know where to turn, talk to someone who can help -
see your doctor - and get a referral to a psychologist or coach/counsellor.
To continue to the signs and symptoms, click/tap the icon below
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008 rev:2017
|If you feel you are suffering from Depression - or Anxiety -
contact your healthcare provider, please.
Depression: Uni-Polar Disorder and Chaos
While it quite common, Depression is somewhat of an enigma at the same time.
It can be a result of a neuro-chemical problem, as a result of an illness, or some other
rogue biological imbalance, which has negatively affected the body's chemistry.
And if that's the case, there are medications that can help; as can taking a Vitamin D3
supplement, Omega-6 supplement, and getting out in the sunshine, or using a special
lamp that simulates the sun.
Other More Common Causes
But at other times, which are more common and likely:
- it can also be a reaction to something: stress, events, and circumstances, as well
as environments in people's lives.
- But there is another important one, one that is often overlooked -or not
mentioned- because it isn't generally considered by many health-care providers.
That "hidden" cause is, indecision. Indecision resulting from being faced with
actually knowing what you are reacting to, and knowing what you can do about it,
BUT, there are two options you need to choose between, and you don't like either
one. And consequently you hover between them, without making a decision or
- It could be that they contradict your values, morals, ethics, etc., OR because of
more mundane, but important reasons, you are unable to do so, perhaps for
financial reasons, or whatever (which would result in feeling trapped). That
inability to choose, whilst knowing what the right choice to make is, creates an
inner dis-balance, and our minds do not handle that well; it creates what is called
cognitive dissonance. See below.
- Two other sources often involved as root causes for depression are; suppressed
Guilt, and Fear.
Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced
by a person who simultaneously faced with having to hold two or more contradictory
beliefs, ideas, or values. Cognitive dissonance is the resulting consequence of having
to chose between performing two actions that contradict personal beliefs, ideals, and
values; it also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts those
beliefs, ideals, and values. It is also known as being in a Double Bind situation:
where a person is confronted with two irreconcilable demands or a choice between
two undesirable courses of action.
In case you do not have time to follow the link, here's a brief outline of the Double
- Originally, the double bind referred to a no-win kind of communication that Gregory
Bateson and his colleagues believed was a contributing factor in schizophrenia. One
example of double bind communication is a mother giving her child the message: "Be
spontaneous." If the child acts spontaneously, he is not acting spontaneously because he
is following his mother's direction.
- It's a no-win situation for the child. If a child is subjected to this kind of communication
over a long period of time, it's easy to see how he could become confused.
A Zen story is a good illustration of the double bind and also of a unique solution.
A Zen master says to his pupils: "If you say this stick is real, I will beat you. If you
say this stick is not real, I will beat you. If you say nothing, I will beat you."
There seems to be no way out.
One pupil, however, found a solution by changing the level of communication. He
walked up to the teacher, grabbed the stick, and broke it.
The double bind is applicable to many of the situations and mental/emotional dis-ease, not only
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