What causes Depression and Anxiety?

As a therapist, the most common issue in the mental health field that I have come across amongst my clients were depression and anxiety. Depression/Anxiety can be caused by one of four factors:

1) Biochemical Factors

Our body and brain are filled with hormones that cause us to feel many different things. I am sure we all heard of the feel-good hormone known as serotonin, right? The feel-good chemical, when released… well… makes us feel good when something we enjoy happens. When we are facing stress, our brains release another hormone known as Cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol has been known to cause depressive/anxious episodes in people when we don’t take care of it. However, there are people out there who have trouble producing and/or regulating serotonin and cortisol. In these cases, they might need medication to help them.

2) Genetics

Believe it or not, both anxiety and depression are hereditary and can be passed through generations of people! In early therapeutic sessions, the client and I will explore the clients family history to see if the family has ever suffered from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

3) Personality

Personality has a huge impact on depression and anxiety! There are people who struggle with low self-esteem, maybe not handle stress well, or maybe at times just have a negative view of the world and the environment around them.

4) Environmental Factors

What happens to the individual in the environment around them? Did they witness trauma throughout their life, such as neglect, abuse, assault, violence, or financial hardships? Maybe the individual experienced a loss in their life, such as a family member’s/friend’s death, a divorce, infidelity, or even broken friendships. Emotional damage left unchecked, unprocessed, and unhealed can have an everlasting impact on an individual’s life. The changing seasons also have an impact on depression and anxiety, hence why seasonal depression is a common disorder during the winter.

We therapists never make guarantees to our clients due to uncertainties in their lives. However, one thing that I can guarantee is that every person throughout the world has experienced depression and anxiety through one of the four factors that I listed above. The feelings are experienced at different levels as well, whether it has been a small/short episode or even long term.

*Please read the next blog titled “How Do We Combat Depression and Anxiety?”

– Arbin Memishi, counselor at The Lighthouse