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What Causes Depression?

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

Depression is the most common mental health issue individuals will face in their life. Whether it’s experiencing depressive disorders themselves or helping a friend, family member, or loved one through it, depression impacts millions of individuals every year. Therefore, it makes sense to wonder what causes depression. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut, simple answer. Instead, depression has multiple causes and can be brought on by different causes at different times. What this means is, what may have been the cause of an individual’s bout with depression in once instance may not necessarily be the cause of the disorder arising again. Thus, knowing what causes depression, and what can be done to address it is vital.

At Harmony Bay Wellness, we understand the complexities of mental health. Through our numerous programs and therapeutic options, you or a loved one can find the help needed to heal and return to positive mental health.


When most people consider the causes of depression, they tend to either think it springs from a chemical imbalance in the brain or due to external triggers. However, while both notions do affect the likelihood of developing depression, it’s necessary to explore both causes more deeply to get a better, more accurate understanding of the condition.

Depression can arise due to genetic predisposition, stress, mood regulation issues, medications, substance abuse, and medical issues. To believe depression simply comes from having an imbalance in one’s brain chemistry is not just an oversimplification, but it hinders proper diagnosis and therapy.

An individual can develop a depressive disorder from any of the causes listed below, either individually or in combination with each other. Also, individuals can develop depression without having experienced any of these causes. Thus, being conscious of your mental health and being proactive in its care is important. Fortunately, depression is treatable in a variety of ways.


Genetics: If an individual has a family history of depression, they are at high risk. But genetics doesn’t mean an individual will develop depression. If someone has a family history of depression, then they need to be more conscious about monitoring their mental health. It may be wise to be proactive and seek counseling. Like going to the gym to keep your body healthy, counseling acts as a means to keep your mind healthy.

Grief: The death or loss of a loved one, family member, friend, or pet can cause individuals more than just sadness. When someone is unaware of how to grieve healthily, then they can set themselves up to suffer from depressions.

Personal upheaval: While you may suspect negative events of causing depression, so-called ‘good’ events can trigger it, such as a new job, marriage or relationship, school, or having a child as with postpartum depression. The worry a person experiences can turn into anxiety, which can easily become depression. Also, personal conflicts and abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual) increases the likelihood of depression.

Illness or accident: When individuals endure an accident or develop a major illness, their mental health can suffer. When an individual’s body is in pain or not functioning the way a person believes it should, then frustrations can turn to anger and hopelessness. This is dangerous because a negative mental state can exacerbate one’s illness or physical condition.

Substance abuse: A good portion of individuals suffering from depression are self-medicating. Whether drugs or alcohol, their substance abuse is meant to deal with the symptoms of their depression. However, substance abuse nearly always only makes the issue worse.


Understanding what causes depression begins with keeping an open mind. No two individuals will have the same triggers because each of our experiences is unique. Thus, to care for our mental health and to treat those struggling with depression, professional help is necessary. Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health.

At Harmony Bay Wellness, we understand how mental health impacts decision making. Our therapists and psychiatrists near Voorhees NJ can help. When someone struggles with depression, they open themselves up to substance abuse and sometimes even self-harm. But no one has to face depression alone. Help is waiting. So contact us today at [Direct] to explore what we can offer you or your loved one. No matter the depressive disorders affecting you or your loved one, we can help restore health.

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.