The exact cause of depression is unknown.

What is known is that there are some common factors that may actuate depression and depressive symptoms. The following five factors may be related to your depression:

Physical illness can be associated with depression. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, cancer, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, chronic, incurable, and painful conditions (i.e., spinal cord injury, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , etc.) and even a simple virus can contribute to your becoming depressed. Since there are many medical conditions that may contribute to a depression, should you have any physical concerns, arrange to have a complete physical.

Medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal drugs can all have side effects associated with depression. Prescription drugs, including hypertensive medications, tranquilizers, steroids, codeine, alcohol/drug intoxication, and alcohol/drug withdrawal can all cause depression. If you think your depression is caused by medicine you are currently taking, you should not hesitate to call your physician.

Family history – depression is 1.5 to 3 times more common among siblings, parents or other close relatives. Discuss the importance of this information with your relatives, encouraging them to be candid with you.

Environmental stress – losses such as a death, divorce, a significant relationship or your job, as well as living conditions that include poverty, danger, or uncertainty, can all provide significant stress and precipitate a depression. There is some current research that shows how stress–environmental or social–actually changes the shape, size and number of neurons in the brain. Keep in mind, it’s not just the stress that affects us, it’s how we interpret and handle stress in our lives.

Psychological factors also influence depression. Although many depressions are triggered by, and can co-exist with any of the above mentioned factors, the motor that generates and sustains all depression is your habit of insecure thinking. Research supports that early childhood experiences set the stage for a sensitivity and susceptibility to depression. Simply stated, this means that insecurity sets the stage for distorted, negative thinking.

How can you recognize insecure thinking? Fortunately, insecurity is predictable; three words: doubts, fears, and negatives. Next time you find yourself mired in doubts, fears, or negatives, tell yourself, “That’s my insecurity talking.” This is a way to begin separating yourself from your insecurity.

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Originally posted on www.self-coaching.net

Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D.


JOSEPH J. LUCIANI, PH.D., is a practicing clinical psychologist and author of the internationally bestselling Self-Coaching series of books. An in-demand speaker and expert, Dr. Luciani is featured frequently in major media, including MSNBC, CNBC, Hallmark Channel, Discovery Channel, NPR, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Fitness, Health, Shape, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

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