Depression is a disease. It isn't caused by personal
weakness, and it isn't a character flaw. When you have depression, there may be problems with activity levels in certain parts of your brain, or chemicals in
your brain called
neurotransmitters may be out of balance.
Most experts believe that a combination of family history (your
genes) and stressful life events may cause depression.
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Genes: Your chance of having a bout of
depression is greater if other family members have had depression. You may have
inherited a trait that makes you more likely to get depressed. If this is true
for you, a stressful life event is more likely to trigger depression.
Thinking styles: How you think can affect how you feel. You may be more likely to become depressed if you tend to:
Think in extremes. For example, thinking, "If I can't do something perfectly, I might as well quit."
Concentrate on your weaknesses and ignore your strengths.
Take things personally that have little or nothing to do with you. For example, if your boss has a stern look on his or her face, you think "My boss must be mad at me, because he (or she) is not smiling."
Pay attention to the dark side of things, or exaggerate the chances of a bad outcome. For example, thinking "If I make a mistake, I will be fired from my job."
Life events: Stressful life events can trigger depression. For
example, you could become depressed if you have: