The occurrence of depression cannot usually be traced back to a single trigger. Many research findings suggest that depression is usually the result of a combination of several factors.

Both genetic and environmental influences play a role.

Overall, those affected have a low tolerance for psychological and physical stress, which is also referred to as vulnerability.

This vulnerability can occur, on the one hand, as a predisposition, and is thus genetically conditioned. On the other hand, it can also be developed by strongly stressful experiences such as trauma and overwhelming mental stress in childhood.

This particular vulnerability then plays a decisive role in the onset and maintenance of depression.

If this predisposition meets a concrete trigger, there is a risk that a depressive episode will develop. Triggers are usually personally stressful events or overburdening situations, such as the loss of a partner or relative, divorce/separation, overwork at the workplace or simply changes in someone‘s usual lifestyle such as retirement.

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It has been proven several times that permanent stress and shocking life events lead to neurobiological reactions, such as increased release of the stress hormone cortisol, During depression, an increased concentration or cortisol can be measured in the blood.

On a neurological level, depression can simply be described as a change in messenger systems in the brain. Certain messenger systems (e.g. the serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine circuits) are out of balance.

Other factors that play a role in the occurrence of depression can be attributed to the personality of the patient. How we have learned to deal with stress, how much we have been supported in believing that we can meet challenges, how secure we have felt in relationships or how high or low our self-esteem has been – much of this is created during our childhood and can, ideally, strengthen us in difficult situations or adversely affect our response to (psychological) stress.

Physical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and certain medications can also play a role in triggering depression.

If you want to know more about possible risk factors, how to recognise the first signs of depression and what to do then, we are happy to provide you with this information and much more in our psychoeducation programme. Become an expert in your illness and let us accompany and strengthen you on your journey to recovery.

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