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Why do some people get depressed and others do not?

Why do some people get depressed and others do not?

If you or someone whom you know has struggled with depression in the past or is perhaps going through a difficult phase at present you might have been told that depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Phrases like ‘low serotonin levels’ to try and explain depression are often used.

Dr.P.J.Cowen in an editorial in the British Journal of Psychiatry(Feb.2002) reviewing the research on chemical changes in the brain whilst a person is depressed wrote ‘what we do not know is why these changes are associated with the development of depressive disorders in some people but not in others’. He goes on to say ‘…. at the root of this problem lies the need to understand individual differences in response to stress and adversity’.  Dorothy Rowe in her book ‘Depression, the way out of your prison’ says that we need to understand how different individuals make sense of what is going on for them and this relates to the individual’s past and present life and the world around.  

Trying to understand and come out of a depressive phase can therefore be more complex than just taking medication. Medication can make us feel better at any one time and enable our coping strategies to surface in order to deal with or change whatever is causing our depression at that time. But more often there are recurrent bouts of depression which become an exhausting way of life and which can affect work and relationships. If we keep trying to soldier on it can result in accompanying bouts of ever increasing anxiety or coping behaviours which involve alcohol, overeating or other potentially addictive behaviours to manage the anxiety.  

Taking some time out to look at the bigger picture which may need to initially include medication in the short term, can start to help restore the confidence a person needs to go forward in life rather than just starting to believe that he or she has a depressive type of personality compared to the more seemingly mentally healthy people around them. 

If you or someone you know would like to explore this bigger picture around depression and how to come out of it then perhaps an initial appointment with one of our Cognitive Analytic Therapists could help. They are trained to look at depression as part of a bigger picture. 

To make an appointment contact us on 01794 329278 or email