Psychosocial factors

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Life stressors are seen to be related to precipitating depression.

Life Events: The first episode of depression is often preceded by a stressful life event, this increases the risk of future episodes even in the absence of external stressors. The life events known to cause depression are

  • Loss of a parent before the age of 11 years.
  • Loss of a spouse
  • Loss of a job or in business
  • Financial loss/difficulties
  • Divorce or separation
  • Failure in love
  • Failure in exams
  • Family conflict
  • Any unexpected death in the family/friends

Physical illness: Physical illness by itself is a stress but there are certain categories of diseases which are known to cause clinical depression. There are medical conditions that are known to cause depression:

  • Stroke
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hepatitis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • HIV infection
  • Certain cancers (Pancreas)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diseases of kidney (End Stage).

Substance (Drug) Abuse and Alcoholism: Many illicit drugs cause depression either on intoxication or during the withdrawal state (i.e. when individual is off the drugs). These drugs are :

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Opioid
  • Tranquilizers like diazepam

There are certain categories of prescribed medications that are also known to cause depression. These are :

  • Certain Painkillers
  • Antihypertensives
  • Certain Oral Contraceptive Pills
  • Tranquilizers
  • Anti epilepsy drugs
  • Anti ulcer drugs
  • Steroids, anabolic steroids

Sex hormones

Heavy metals and toxins like gasoline, paint, organophosphates, nerve gases, carbon mono oxide can also cause depression.