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What Causes Depression? Depression 101

Got the moody blues? Here’s why.

Everyone experiences depressed moods from time to time, especially in response to tragic life events like the death of a loved one, job loss, divorce or financial difficulties. But what causes lingering, “I just can’t get out of my continual funk, moody blues? I have all the money I need, a nice home, a significant other that loves me and children that behave, yet I am depressed, even suicidal at times.”

Physicians call it major depressive disorder or MDD. Alterations of the feel-good hormones or neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine underlie the current theories for inexplicable, chronic depression. While neurological science doesn’t understand the precise mechanisms that cause shifts in the secretion of these hormones, theories hold that the distribution and concentration of these substances is governed by the moment to moment impact of internal and external stimuli on the nervous system. Observational studies further conclude that the effect of these stimuli is influenced by past experiences, life events, education and the like, which ultimately drive emotional response, mood, disposition, and feelings.

Successful treatment of depression utilizing medications which restore the balance of these biochemicals, supports the theories constituting the current understanding of depression.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! stay tuned for Depression 102, when I explain the treatment of depression utilizing serotonin re-uptake inhibitors to treat depression and power your path to happiness!