Can you be born with depression? (9 major causes)

In this article we will be addressing the question: can you be born with depression? We will be looking at the leading factors that cause depression and the role of heredity in depression.

In the end, certain other questions will also be addressed concerning the root causal factors of depression.

Can you be born with depression?

In usual cases, no one can be born with depression, unless and until there are physiological reasons in which a newborn’s symptoms show up, as slow responses to stimuli such as touch or if there exists a lethargic effect in the movement. However, these cannot be attributed to melancholia. 

People could be disposed of or predisposed toward depression. This happens due to the play of genetics. Clinical depression, sometimes, runs in families. It could also arise due to disruption in early brain development which occurs as a result of deficiencies in brain chemistry. There is also the role of temperament that differs from person to person. Some people tend to be more prone to severe mood disorders and temperament issues. 

Any kind of trauma does not hold the power to alter our genes. instead, It brings about changes in our learned responses and also leads to the development of particular triggers in us. These triggers remain dormant throughout childhood and early adolescence and rise to the realm of our consciousness once we reach late adolescence or adulthood. 

Major causes of depression

The first and foremost thing to be observed is that depression is quite a complex disorder. It has got several dimensions and cannot be attributed to one single reason, whatsoever. Some experience depression due to or as a consequence of medical illness. On the other hand, some may develop depression as a result of major life events that occurred such as the death of a loved one, migration to another city, or ending of a long-term relationship.

Depression can also occur as a result of heredity. Amusingly, depression can also occur without any solid reasons to point out. Below given are some of the main causes that lead to the development of depression. 

Physical or mental abuse

Abuse of any kind or intensity affects an individual in several ways. It disrupts the physical and mental equilibrium of the victim and the development of complex emotional problems. Past physical, emotional, or sexual abuse have the power to increase the vulnerability to clinical depression in the future. 


Consumption of certain types of medication can also cause depression. Drugs such as isotretinoin which is used to treat acne, interferon-alpha which is an antiviral drug, and corticosteroids increases the chances of being at risk for the development of depression.

Mental conflict

Conflict of any kind is an unpleasant situation to deal with and it causes mental distress and chaos. It could be a conflict with friends, family, or at work. It causes a certain amount of imbalance in your well being at puts you off the edge, sometimes. As a result, depression may arise out of such conflicts with family, close friends, or with anyone for that matter.

Loss or death of loved ones

Sadness and grief as a consequence of the loss or death of a loved one is a natural response to the event and is healthy to an extent. However, when the grieving period crosses a certain period, it could be indicating the onset of depression. A period of six months is considered normal and relevant for grieving the loss of loved ones. 


If your family has a history of cases of depression, it is bound to put you at a higher risk for developing depression. Depression is a complex state of mind and body and there may exist many genes that might be exerting small effects rather than one single gene which contributes to the disorder.  The genetic explanation for depression is not as simple and straightforward as Huntington’s chorea or cystic fibrosis. 

Important life events

Major life events such as entering a new career field, getting married, graduating, or even getting new spectacles can have a huge impact on your life. These events can turn out to be stressful and could lead to severe anxiety, eventually ending in depression. 

Personal issues

Personal problems such as strife with family and friends, social isolation, due to other mental illness, or being cast out of the family ad social groups can be stressful and overwhelming. All of this increases the risk of developing clinical depression. 

Substance abuse

People who are victims of substance abuse are sure to suffer from depression at one point or the other in their life. Though alcohol and drugs make them feel better temporarily, it causes an array of several issues consequently and leads to severe depression after a point of time.

Genetic links

Depression is an illness, that could sometimes, run in the family. This is suggestive of the fact that depression has a partial genetic link to depression. Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of those suffering from depression are more likely to suffer from depression than people of the normal population. 

Multiple genes interact with one another in specific ways and contribute to the different types of depression that run in families. However, it would be far-fetched to claim that there exists a single gene that contributes to the emergence of depression. Instead, it could be thought of as a play of genetic and environmental factors together. In other words, both nature and nurture play a role in causing depression.

Biological explanation

There are differences in the brain chemistry and structure of those suffering from depression from those who do not. the hippocampus, which is a small part of the brain that is vital for storing information and memories appears to be smaller in those people with a history of depression, compared to other people who have none. A small hippocampus is indicative of decreased serotonin receptors.

Serotonin is one of the many brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that allow communication across circuits that enable the connection of different brain regions involved in the processing of emotions. 

There is also the problem of excess release of cortisol in the body, which is a stress hormone, and that increases in people who suffer from depression. The cortisol has a shrinking effect on the development of the hippocampus. Whatsoever, there exists many other brain regions and specific pathways between these regions which contribute to the development of depression.

Anti-depressants are also known to cause changes in the brain’s structure of those consuming it. They exert something called the ‘neurotrophic effects’ which helps the nerve cells to sustain and prevent them from dying. It also allows them to form stronger connections to withstand biological stressors. 

Depression and chronic illness 

Sometimes, people who suffer from any form of chronic illness are prone to developing depression. The chronic illness lasts for a long period in life and mostly comes with no cure. 

Although, these types of illnesses can be brought into control through regular exercise, a healthy diet, important lifestyle changes, and certain forms of medications. 

Chronic illness include conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease,  human immunodeficiency virus/Aids, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Hypothyroidism is another condition that could lead to the development of depression.  Sometimes, treating depressive symptoms may help to reduce the impact of the co-existing medical ailment. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Depression and chronic pain

Any kind of pain, physical or mental, that exists for more than a given period is referred to as ‘chronic pain’. Chronic pain severely disrupts your daily functioning and exerts a negative impact on your health, both physical and mental, relationships, work, and sleep, and diet. 

It is bound to leave you isolated, sad, and depressed, gradually. A multi-dimensional combination of medicine, psychotherapy, support groups, and such will be required to manage the pain and ease the depression. 

Depression and grief

Grief, on its own, is a normal response to loss. The loss could of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a partner, loss of a pet, or any loss or life change that produces stressful emotions within us. 

The symptoms of grief and depression vary, largely. Grief incorporates feelings of emptiness, longing for the lost person or situation, and an intact inability to feel pleasure or joy. On the other hand, depression incorporates feelings of low self-worth, persistent negative thought cycles about the future, suicidal ideations, and severe feelings of hopelessness. 

Different people cope with grief in their ways. However, it is important to observe the thin line between grief and depression and to be aware of the transition to take early precautions. 


In this article, we answered the question: can you be born with depression?. We examined the various causal factors that lead to depression and the relationship between depression and chronic illness, chronic pain, and the difference between depression and grief. 

FAQs: can you be born with depression?

Is there a gene for depression?

There is a common belief that more than forty percent of the depression cases prevailing in the world can be traced to a genetic link. Environmental factors and other related factors make up for the rest of the sixty percent. Research has also proved that those people who have siblings or family members suffering from depression are three times more likely to be at risk for depression.

What is the single most common cause of depression?

Depression cannot arise solely because of one single reason. usually, there are many factors at play that eventually leads to depression. The excess or deficit of certain chemicals in the brain alone, cannot cause depression. There will be the presence of other factors including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, severe trauma, medications, and other associated medical problems.

Which gender is most likely to have depression?

Though depression can occur at any age and to anyone irrespective of their economic status or caste and religion, it has been discovered that women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. For most women, premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, irritability, headache, anxiety, and experiencing the blues, also play a role in causing depressive episodes. 

Which country has the highest rate of depression?

The country with the highest rate of depression is Afghanistan wherein more than one in five people suffer from the disorder. On the other hand, the country with the lowest rate of depression is Japan which has a diagnosed rate of less than 2.5 percent.

Does depression count as a disability?

Depression is categorized as a psychiatric disability under the Americans Disability Act (ADA). this is because depression is recognized to be a significant mood disorder that severely interferes with daily life, especially when the diagnosis is a major depressive disorder. It interferes with your ability to work and to look after yourself. It sometimes becomes severely debilitating and deteriorating. 

What job has the highest rate of depression?

Five industries in the workforce are highly affected by depression and these cover a wide spectrum. From the survey taken, public and private transit showed the highest rate at 16.2% of their workers suffering from depression, followed by real estate (15.7), social services (14.6), manufacturing (14.3), and personal services (14.3).  


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