Major Depressive Disorder, also known as MDD, is far more severe than feeling down in the dumps. The condition is so serious that sufferers may contemplate, or commit, suicide. For some individuals MDD is a continual blight on their life, reducing enjoyment of what once gave them pleasure, and isolating them from other people. Understanding the causes of Major Depressive Disorder can help severely depressed individuals recognize where symptoms stem from, and aid them in comprehending what’s happening to them.
There are three main possible causes which can indicate why an individual suffers from clinical depression, or MDD. Biological factors can play a part in MDD, as can the environment and an individual’s thought processes.
Biological causes of Major Depressive Disorder
Statistics reveal that there is a 27% chance that a parent with depression may pass the condition on to offspring. Studies involving fraternal, and identical twins have helped research develop further in this area, showing that if one identical twin suffers from depression, the other has a whopping 70% chance of doing so also. Fraternal twins are less likely to follow the same pattern, with results revealing a 35% ratio. Data also suggests that individuals predisposed via genetics to suffering from MDD are more likely than others to become clinically depressed after a stressful event in life.
Neurotransmitters may play a part in Major Depressive Disorder. Such brain chemicals allow nerve impulses to travel over gaps from one nerve cell to another. The brain chemical serotonin ceases to work as it should in severely depressed individuals. Serotonin is responsible for helping people feel good. The result of its inability to function normally is that it’s retrieved too quickly by brain receptors, before its job is done.
Stroke victims have helped to produce another possible biological cause for Major Depressive Disorder. Those who have prefrontal lobe damage of their brain tend to develop depression, and studies reveal that MDD sufferers have a reduced frontal lobe area.
Environmental causes of major Depressive Disorder
External events are known to trigger MDD in some individuals. Disasters and crisis situations may bring on depression, but in other cases it’s life circumstances that are hard to live with, but don’t seem to ever shift which can be to blame. Oppression, stressful relationships or poverty may result in depression.
Studies suggest that MDD sufferers often internalize negative experiences and see themselves to blame. In such cases the way an event is interpreted, rather than the situation, is the root cause of depression. Feelings of guilt and failure can build until major depression is experienced.
Such negative thought processes can stem from MDD sufferers parents patterns of thinking, which they copy and then make a habit of repeating. A continual chain of negative thoughts involving self disgust or a sense of inferiority can lead to MDD.
Learned helplessness is thought to be the cause of MDD in some sufferers. Studies on dogs who were given electric shocks, but had no means of escape at first, helped show mental health professionals how learned helplessness evolves. The dogs were later given electric shocks and provided with a means of escape. However, because they had tried and failed to get away previously, they didn’t believe they could escape even when the opportunity arose. Instead, they suffered further shocks in misery.
Individuals who are abused as children, or who are forced to live in a state of helplessness, can find later in life they can’t see a way out of painful situations, and they stay and suffer just as dogs in the experiment did.
The causes of Major Depressive Disorder are varied. Some involve biological factors, while others may stem from events in life, or the way individuals think and react to situations.