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What causes depression?

If you’re suffering from depression you’re far from alone. Find out more about this common mental health condition.

The causes of depression are different for different people. The important thing to recognise is that it’s more serious than just a low mood and there’s plenty of help out there if you’re suffering.

Experts explain: watch Medibank mental health nurse Rachel Bowes explain what causes depression in more detail.

What causes depression?

The exact cause of depression is not known. But there are a number of different factors that may contribute.

Some people are more at risk due to their genes, biology or personality type.

A sudden change in circumstances like the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or going through a divorce can increase someone’s  risk of depression. Long-term stress, managing a serious medical condition or excessive drug and alcohol use can also be contributing factors.

Different types of depression

Depression affects your self-esteem and can make managing the day-to-day tasks of life difficult. You might lose interest in things that used to bring you pleasure and find motivation lacking in general. Depression can range in severity and there are a range of different types, including:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Melancholia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antenatal and postnatal depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder. 

What are the signs or symptoms of depression?

According to Australia’s leading authority on depression, beyondblue, signs you might be depressed can include:

  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Negative thoughts
  • Feeling tired all the time.

It’s important to seek support

Remember that even if you can’t identify the cause of your depression, there are plenty of effective treatment options available. These range from lifestyle changes and psychological treatments (also known as talk therapy), to medications.

If you recognise any signs or symptoms, it’s important to seek support. Reaching out early means recovering sooner, and your GP is a great place to start.

Find out more about what causes other common mental health conditions like anxiety.

**Last year more than 150,000 Australians contacted beyondblue and you can too. For immediate information and support call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or LifeLine on 13 11 14.**


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