Exogenous depression: definition, causes and symptoms

Exogenous depression is a type of mood disorder linked to a disability or difficulty in feeling feelings of well-being and motivation.

Depression in general, on the other hand, is a spectrum of mental disorders whose symptoms occur relatively frequently; in Spain, it is estimated to affect 5% of the population. This is why it has received a lot of media attention in relation to other troubles.

However, and despite the awareness campaigns that have been carried out, many people still believe in a highly stereotypical concept of depression. One of the consequences is that depression is understood as a completely homogeneous disorder, always associated with the same symptoms.

To account for these variations and nuances, he often distinguishes between categories such as endogenous depression and exogenous depression. In this article we will talk about the latter.

    What is exogenous depression?

    Exogenous depression is the type of depression causes can be attributed to an event or a chain of events related to how the person relates to their environment (and the people who live there).

    More concisely, there is one in which the causes of the disorder are not due to a spontaneous change in the internal functioning of the body, as in endogenous depression, but it is provoked from the outside.

    Additionally, exogenous depression is the most common variant, while endogenous, although not very rare, occurs less frequently.

      Main causes of exogenous depression

      As we have seen, the situations that trigger the onset of exogenous depression they can be both punctual and continuous over time.

      As for the most common causes of exogenous depression, they are:

      1. Traumatic events related to violence

      Exogenous depression can be caused by traumatic experiences, usually one-off or lasting a few days, which are recalled as flashbacks.

      2. Duel

      The dual, usually generated by the death or illness of a loved one, Is a mental state associated with anxiety problems and can sometimes lead to exogenous depression due to the loop of anxious thoughts that it produces through rumination and thoughts related to death.

        3. Divorces and separations

        In fact, divorces and breakups can generally be understood as a kind of bereavement. Ultimately, you lose both a person you love or once loved, and a lifestyle that has come to merge with the very idea of ​​’I’.

        4. Situation of poverty and unemployment

        The problems of subsistence by oneself, it is not only to encourage the emergence of less healthy lifestyle habits, but also they have a deep psychological impact which affects self-esteem and life expectancy.

        5. Rejection of own physical appearance

        Certain events result in a change in physical appearance that is very unwelcome by those who experience them. For example, the appearance of a scar on a very visible part of the body, an accelerated aging process, alopecia and certain skin diseases can make some people very sore.


          As for the symptoms of exogenous depression, the most typical are as follows, although they do not necessarily have to occur at the same time in all cases.

          1. Sound problems

          Changes in sleep patterns they are usually among the first symptoms of the onset of depression and trigger many complications related to lack of rest and increased stress.

          2. Lack of initiative and motivation (abulia)

          Abulia is one of the characteristic symptoms of different forms of depression. Those who experience it feel no motivation for anything and they are unable to perform the most basic self-maintenance tasks, How to maintain personal hygiene, cook or even attend leisure events.

          3. Experimenting with limited or absent pleasure

          Another effect of exogenous depression is anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure.

          4. Subjective state of sadness and episodes of uncontrolled crying

          Contrary to popular belief, the feeling of sadness does not occur in the vast majority of people with depression, nor should it always be present when it does.

          5. Emergence of suicidal ideation

          Suicidal thoughts it is also relatively common and sometimes leads the person to plan for the chain of events that will end their life.

          In turn, it should be noted that depression can usually appear with varying degrees of intensity, and so are the symptoms associated with it.

          A categorization of disorders that has its limits

          It should be borne in mind that the boundary separating exogenous depression from endogenous depression is only a theoretical construct that exists because it is useful, not because it embodies a differentiation between two fundamentally distinct clinical entities. .

          This is so because there is no mental disorder that appears spontaneously in us: the context always influences more or less. To defend the contrary would be to defend a dualistic view of the mind, in which everything that happens in nature is related to each other except to ourselves.

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