If depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, how can having bad things happen to you cause it?

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I often hear about external things causing depression, but I always thought that depression was caused by exclusively internal things and separate from anything that’s actually happening in your life.

On a separate note, how can things like exercise and therapy help with it?

In: Biology
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Bad things make for bad chemicals, and a long streak of severely bad things can make for a lot of bad chemicals. Some people can cope with a lot of bad stuff happening (it’s called psychological resilience), while for some other people the limit after which they’ll spiral into depression is lower. Exercise and therapy are supposed to help with making good chemicals to restore the balance.

Those chemicals in the brain (like dopamine and serotonin) are caused by feelings/emotions and IRL situations. Confidence, anxiety, loving and trusting yourself all influence those chemicals. When you exercise your brain releases a chemical called dopamine and endorphins . They’re basically what makes u happy

There are both genetic factors that can increase the chance of developing a depressive disorder, and things that can happen to a person that can cause them. Depressive disorders have been known to change the brain, both in form and function. There are a wide range of different options for therapy, which usually work by trying to change the ways you think, or perhaps breaking down emotional barriers. Exercise is just one of many ways to stave off depression. It, along with other activities, releases happy chemicals in the brain. It’s a complex subject that is far from being fully understood.

There’s what I refer to as clinical depression, induced by issues within your body, and psychological depression which is induced by external factors. These are really two distinct conditions with different diagnoses. What a lot of people refer to as depression is really the externally induced psychological depression, not the biologically based depression that typically requires medication or other such medical intervention to treat.

Good things and bad things cause chemical changes in your brain.

For exemple stress release cortisol which is a chemical, and that chemical has real short term but also lasting effects on your brain and body.

There are many other chemicals, their actions are really complex and not completely understood, but it’s not hard to imagine an excess of a chemical can break something in your brain. I’d even say good things can also cause depression, happiness chemicals have bad effects and can cause imbalances and an happy shock is still a shock.

Hope this fits, here first time browsing/interacting with this sub.

Tldr: life events or habits can literally change your genetic expression, or they way your brain releases and absorbs those sweet, sweet brain juices they call neuritransmitters.

These chemical imbalances can occur after certain traumatic events and/-or substance use (I’m, sure, under other many other circumstances as well, but I’m speaking to those of which I’m somewhat familiar) these changes are called, “epigentics” essentially, this means a recessive gene, that would otherwise remain dormant, becomes active.

An example of this, is the COMT gene (the one that is believed to be responsible for schizophrenia) in adolescence. It has been observed that cannabis use in people within the age range of about 10 to 20 yo. that have the COMT gene, are at a high risk of activating this gene, resulting in schizophrenia. Something about using cannabis within this developmental stage can literally change your genetics. This can happen with other genes and events.

Traumatic events can also change your brain works. It changes the way your brain reacts to events. It changes the way you think, therefore, it changes the way your brain functions. You release certain neurotransmiters under stress.

If you develop an apprehension or fear due to an experience, if that memory is triggered again in the future, (whether you are acutely aware of it or not) your brain will release the “appropriate” neurotranitters (epinephrine, dopamine, norepinephrine) in turn.

Where as, when you are experiencing something pleasurable, you would release a neurotransmitter such as oxytocin or serotonin. Reinforcing your want or need to do the thing again.