There is no clear cause of
depression. Experts think it happens because of chemical problems in the brain. Many
factors can play a role in depression. These include environmental, mental health,
physical, and inherited factors.
Some types of depression seem to
run in families. But no genes have yet been linked to depression.
Women have depression about twice as often as men. Many hormonal factors may add to the increased rate of depression in women. This includes menstrual cycle changes, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pregnancy, miscarriage, postpartum period, perimenopause, and menopause. Many women also deal with additional stresses such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for both children and aging parents.
Many women are especially at risk
after giving birth to a baby. Women have hormonal and physical changes on top of the
added responsibility of caring for a baby. These can lead to postpartum depression in
some women. The “baby blues" are common in new mothers and last a week or two. A
full-blown depressive episode is not normal and needs treatment.