Unlike other illnesses or disorders, there is no simple explanation as to what causes depression. In general, depression can be due to a number of factors including stresses which can range from mild to severe, combined with vulnerability or predisposition to depression that can result from biological, genetic or psychological factors. Each type of depression is associated with different mixtures of causes. For psychotic or melancholic depression, physical and biological factors are relevant. In contrast, for nonmelancholic depression, the role of personality and stressful life events are important.
Our knowledge of the human brain is still fairly limited, therefore we do not really know what actually happens in the brain to cause depression. It is likely that with most instances of depression, neurotransmitter function is disrupted. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals from one part of the brain to the next. There are many neurotransmitters serving different purposes. However, three important ones that affect a person’s mood are serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. In normal brain function, neurotransmitters interact with a series of nerve cells, with the signal being as strong in the second and subsequent cells as it was in the first. However, in people who are depressed, mood regulating neurotransmitters fail to function normally, so that the signal is either depleted or disrupted before passing to the next nerve cell.
It is important to recognise that nearly every individual can be stressed and depressed by certain events. Most people get over the stress or depression within days or weeks while others do not. Ways that stress can lead to depression include past or long-standing stresses which can increase the chances of an individual developing depression in later years, or disruptive life-changing events (relationship breakdowns, death of a loved one) which can lead to low self-esteem.
There is no single cause for depression; rather it’s a combination of stress and a person’s vulnerability to developing depression.
Vedic meditation is widely regarded as the easiest to practise of all the alternative therapies for depression and is commonly found to deliver the quickest results, making it a very powerful tool for dealing with depression and its symptoms. The aggravating symptoms caused by stress unwind and everything starts getting a little better, resulting in more joy, serenity, coherence, connection & confidence.
Through regular practise, natural sleep patterns are achieved or restored, hormone production (noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine) is rebalanced, resulting in more ‘happy’ hormones lifting our mood, & the activity of the amygdala is regulated so that it stops becoming overstimulated every time we see something sad. With these positive outcomes our sense sorrow, hopelessness & lack of discipline become a thing of the past.