What Causes Depression?

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According to WebMD, the main causes of depression include physical, sexual or emotional abuse, death of a loved one, serious illness, substance abuse, and family history of depression or mental illness. A major life event such as a new job, graduating school or having a baby may also trigger depression, as can certain medications, including corticosteroids and Accutane.

There are a variety of treatment options, both traditional and alternative, for depression. Mayo Clinic lists a number of prescription medicines. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are generally considered safer with few side effects. These medications include Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa. Other types include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as Cymbalta and Pristiq and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors such as Wellbutrin. In some cases, a doctor may recommend combining two antidepressants or adding other medicines such as mood stabilizers or stimulants to enhance the effect of antidepressant therapy.

According to Mayo Clinic, examples of alternative treatments for depression include St. John's wort, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, exercise and massage therapy. While, as of 2014, these methods have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of depression, many practitioners believe mental well-being is a product of a balanced mind and body.