According to WebMD, there are nine major causes of depression. They are:
- abuse: in particular child abuse which can negatively impact a young persons self perception and possibilities in life. Abuse is frequently found in the histories of highly sensitive people.
- genetics: depression occurs in families and is thought to be inherited like sensitivity.
- medication: some medications treating high blood pressure may cause depression. Because highly sensitive people suffer from a sensitive nervous system and different biology, it is worth considering medication as a source of depression in HSPs.
- serious illness
- social problems: individuals suffering social isolation can become depressed. This is an important issue for HSPs since they are different. Many highly sensitive people struggle with social skills because they approach socializing with the desire for deep, meaningful connection not just a good time.
- conflict: HSPs tend to be empathetic and seek harmony with others. When they are in a situation where someone else is invested in having a conflict with them, they can become depressed.
- substance abuse: using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism can contribute to depression.
- life events: highly sensitive people recover more slowly from trauma and hurt. Losses like a death in the family or divorce can lead to depression in HSPs because their systems have difficulty processing the change.
- major events or change: highly sensitive people do not always handle change well. If the change is infrequent, they can be fine with it, but excessive change can lead to depression. HSPs are conscientious. They process everything more deeply including change. Change for change’s sake does not work for them; they see it as superficial which has a negative impact on them.
Genetics, Depression and HSPs
According to the Genetics of Brain Function Department at Stanford University, genetics can range from 0-100% as the cause of depression.
However, they have found that in the case of twins, that when one identical twin had depression, the other twin had a greater chance of having depression – approximately 40-50%. Their conclusion is that genetics can be caused 50% by genetics and 50% by other factors and in some cases as much as 100% of the cause is genetic.
Bipolar disorder also has a strong history of inheritance. If one parent has it, a child has a 25% of getting the disease. The probability increases to 75% of both parents have the disorders according to All About Depression.
In some situations, depression can be caused by the mutant gene codes for the brain enzyme, tryptophan hydroxylase-2, which results in 80% less serotonin in the body leading to a treatment resistant form of depression according to about.com/depression.