Mental Depression – Causes

Causes Of Depression:

Psycho-social causes:

According to Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho-analysis, unresolved conflicts involving relationships with care givers in infancy and childhood leads to depression. Individuals who receive parental overprotection or parental neglect might not be able to develop adequate competencies for coping with various life stresses. This is likely to make them dependent on others as their presence are likely to provide the individual the sense of security. This will make the child hypersensitive in social relationships and also hypersensitive to their losses as the loss might activate in him, the feeling of insecurity and anger. This hostility is internalized leading to depression. The feeling of depression becomes more severe if the person is in some way responsible for the loss. According to Freud, for the people with rigid super-ego i.e. high ego ideal and rigid conscience, if the behavior are not able to match with super-ego expectations, then it is likely to cause moral anxiety and may lead to depression.


Bowlby, a Neo-Freudian, gave the concept of attachment to explain the emotional bonding between between the child and his parents. Attachment has two functions- First, it forms the basis for future interpersonal relation; and second is that it provides security to child to explore his environment. All children form attachment which can either be secure or insecure. When the attachment is secure, , the child feels confident to approach others for social support and help. But in the case of insecure attachment, the child doesn’t approach the others for social support as the past experiences of the child informs him that others are not usually available for help. People with insecure attachment are isolated and therefore, because of absence of social support , they feel lonely and depressed.

depressed and sad

depressed and sad

Behavioral causes:

To participate in the life events successfully, one needs positive reinforcement. When positive reinforcements are inadequate and punishment is often provided, it is likely that the person will get demotivated and depressed.

Learned helplessness is another cause for depression. The feeling of helplessness or the inability to control the events in the world around, causes response passivity ultimately leading to depression.

Biological causes:

Disturbances in the level or functioning of the three neurotransmitters namely serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are responsible for depression.

Genetic factors also play an important role to make a person more depression prone.

Irregularities in the way neurons fire their messages may also be responsible for these disorders.

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