Depressive disorders they are one of the most popular diagnostic categories. There are many people who, when they are psychologically ill, call themselves “depressed” and generally use this concept as if it were used to describe simple discomfort that goes beyond physical pain.
Sadness and depression are far from the same, however. The second is a disorder that must be diagnosed and which, in part, does not depend on the situations we experience in our work, our family context or our leisure time.
Many factors can lead to the development of this type of disorder; biochemical imbalances of the nervous system to which genetics predispose, to past learning and to the way of evoking memories linked to our life trajectory. Then we will focus on this second type of reasons, psychological causes of depression.
The psychology behind depression
It is clear that all psychological causes are also biological in a sense. After all, in order not to be, we must accept that our mind is something separate from the body, an idea totally rejected by science and which corresponds only to philosophical dualism.
However, when we refer to the fact that there are psychological causes of depression, we are talking about a type of pathological root which, although it occurs in the human body, it doesn’t just depend on the simple expression of genes and innate characteristics, but to understand this, we must consider how the interaction with the environment influences this biology.
So, having seen many close friends and family members die in childhood is something that can only happen if we have a nervous system that is able to process these experiences and come to terms with them as very stressful and traumatic times. but at the same time there is a component that it has to do with what is happening in the environment, Out of self. Unlike mismatches in the production levels of neurotransmitters which have genetic causes, in this case our life experiences matter.
So … what are these psychological causes of depression? Below we will see the main ones.
1. Pessimistic bias
There are ways of interpreting reality that lead us to perform constantly a pessimistic reading of the facts. For example, if we believe that all of our apparent successes are the product of luck and that all of our failures are the result of innate traits that will always be with us and that we cannot change, it contributes to our exposure to bad experiences. .
So these are facts that have to do with our attribution style (the way we explain what’s going on), but also with the way we make predictions about what’s going to happen to us.
2. Lack of stimulation
One of the hallmarks of depression is that under its effects people they lack initiative and, in many cases, they are not even able to experience pleasure (a phenomenon known as anhedonia). This has led some researchers to hypothesize that one of the psychological causes of depression is the lack of positive reinforcements (a kind of reward for taking action), after going through a period in which the person to whom it is ‘is used to it.
For example, if at the end of college we find that we no longer have an exciting project that motivates us and gives us small day-to-day rewards, we may have a hard time finding new motivations, and in no moment does that lead us to emotional stagnation.
3. Attention management issues
This psychological cause of depression is closely related to the first one and has to do with the tendency of our attentional focus to always focus on the things that make us feel bad. In some contexts, people can learn to focus all of your attention on what’s painful, Sad or desperate, as if there was a feeling of morbid fascination with them. In this way, the content of thoughts gradually becomes fixed in unpleasant experiences.
Moreover, this partial view of reality makes us live in a very distorted world which, moreover, does not change when the facts send us signals that the world is not as dark a place as we think it is. How? ‘Or’ What we will have learned to focus our attention on the worstIn addition, these conflicting facts will be subconsciously manipulated to match our view of reality, as happened, for example, in the case of youtuber Marina Joyce.
4. Traumas linked to the past
Traumatic experiences, especially those related to events during childhood (a vital stage to which we are particularly sensitive to experiences) can leave a mark that is difficult to erase and which, over time, will generate a chain reaction that will lead us to the Depression .
For example, having killed an animal by accident it can seriously damage your self-esteem, Create an aversion to the possibility of forming new emotional connections and making these traumatic memories appear as intrusive images at all times, which makes the appearance of depressive symptoms more likely. The same could happen, for example, in cases of childhood sexual abuse.
However, it should be noted that it all depends on how these memories and situations are interpreted, as these experiences, by themselves, should not trigger depression in a deterministic way.
5. Tendency to obsessive thinking
The need to make our lives fits perfectly with certain mental patterns it is a characteristic of an obsessive thinking style which, in addition to leading to constant perfectionism, can increase the risk of suffering from depression. The reason is that life hardly matches these expectations of perfection.