Depression is a complex condition. It is psychological, in that it develops in the brain. But it is also behavioral, genetic, and environmental. Scientists have studied depression for decades, but still do not fully understand why some people develop depression, why others do not, and the mechanisms that cause people to be able or unable to overcome it on their own.
What makes depression even more complicated is how it develops. Depression can develop in many ways. It is also possible for people to feel “depressed” for long periods of time but not necessarily have a psychological disorder. It is also possible for people to develop depression in ways that may be subtle at first.
How Depression Develops: Rapid or Slowly
Depression can develop it many different ways, and – in all of these cases, it is still depression. One thing to note is that depression is treatable. Even a genetic disposition to depression, where a person’s depression can be traced back to their parents and their genes, can still be treated with the right psychological intervention. Depression is not destiny. Depression can be:
- Gradual Onset – Many cases of depression can come from poor coping strategies that have developed slowly over time. It may start as a general disinterest in activities, or a struggle managing negative emotions. Over time, the symptoms become worse. Depression that develops gradually like this often has a mix of psychological, emotional, behavioral, and genetic causes.
- Reactive Depression – Reactive depression is depression that is directly linked to trauma, loss, or a significant life event. For example, a sudden and unexpected job loss and financial stress can trigger reactive depression. Reactive depression may not always develop into chronic clinical depression, but can be deeply felt and – if not properly addressed – lead to further depressive issues.
- Situational Depression – Depression can also occur in specific situations. For example, post-partum depression occurs after pregnancy, and seasonal depression occurs during colder months when there is less sunlight. Both are forms of depression that only occur in specific situations and may or may not be long lasting.
Some forms of depression, like bipolar disorder, have a strong genetic component. In these situations, bipolar disorder may begin to manifest at a specific age, usually about 16 to 26, and not usually after 30-35. This change can occur fairly quickly, but is not a reactive change.
There is no right or wrong way to develop depression. But there is treatment available to help. Contact Long Island Counseling Services today to get started.