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There is no single cause of depression. You canÂ develop itÂ for different reasons and it has many different triggers.
For some, anÂ upsetting or stressful life eventÂ â€“Â such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worriesÂ â€“Â can be the cause.
Often, different causes combine to triggerÂ depression. For example, you may feel low after an illness and then experience aÂ traumatic event, such as bereavement, whichÂ brings onÂ depression.
People often talk about a "downward spiral" of events that leads toÂ depression. For example, ifÂ your relationship withÂ your partner breaks down, you're likely to feel low,Â so youÂ stop seeing friends and family andÂ you may start drinking more.Â All ofÂ this can makeÂ you feel even worse and triggerÂ depression.
Some studies have also suggested you're more likely to getÂ depressionÂ asÂ you get older, and thatÂ it's more common if you live inÂ difficult social and economic circumstances.
Most peopleÂ takeÂ time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. When these stressful events happen, youÂ have a higher risk of becomingÂ depressedÂ if you stop seeing your friends and family and youÂ try to deal with your problems on your own.
Head injuries are also an often under-recognised cause of depression. AÂ severe head injury can trigger mood swings and emotional problems.
Some people may have anÂ underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)Â resulting fromÂ problems with their immune system. In rarer cases aÂ minor head injury can damage the pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland at the base ofÂ your brain that produces thyroid-stimulating hormones.
This can cause a number of symptoms, such as extreme tirednessÂ andÂ a loss ofÂ interest in sex (loss of libido), which can in turnÂ lead toÂ depression.Â
You mayÂ beÂ more vulnerable toÂ depressionÂ if you haveÂ certain personality traits,Â such asÂ low self-esteem or being overly self-critical. This may beÂ because ofÂ the genes you've inherited from your parents, or because of your early life experiences.Â
If someone else in your family has suffered from depression in the past, such as a parent or sister or brother, then it's more likely you will too.
Some women are particularly vulnerable toÂ depression after pregnancy. The hormonal and physical changes, as well as added responsibility of a new life, can lead to postnatal depression.
BecomingÂ cut off from your family and friendsÂ canÂ increase your risk ofÂ depression.
Cannabis helps you relax, but there is evidence that it can bring on depression, especially in teenagers.
And don't beÂ tempted to drown your sorrowsÂ with a drink. Alcohol is categorised as a "strong depressant" and actually makes depression worse.Â
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