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Causes: Serotonin, Genetics, Other Conditions

Causes: Serotonin, Genetics, Other Conditions

Causes: Serotonin, Genetics, Other Conditions
Transcript

In all honesty, modern science doesn't really know what causes depression. Some people will tell you that it is due to a deficiency in the neurotransmitter (a fancy word for a chemical in the brain called Serotonin.) While Serotonin does seem to play an important role in the regulation of mood, to say that depression is just the result of too little Serotonin is probably a gross simplification. While we don't really know what causes depression, we do know a number of things that seem to contribute to the risk of developing depression and probably all together are impacting the development of depression in a person. Here we have to think of a few different common causes. One is biological causes. Genetics, for example, can increase the risk of depression in some individuals, so if a person's family member who has depression, they may be at risk for depression themselves. Certainly not a guarantee that they're going to develop it and not even necessarily likely that they're going to develop it, but their risk may be a little bit higher than the rest of the population. Certain medical conditions seem to affect depression. Things like heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's, stroke - all seem to travel together with depression and some of them may be involved in causing depression.

Doctor Profile

Zev Wiener, MD

Psychiatrist

  • Board-certified psychiatrist
  • Runs a private practice and serves on staff at UCLA Medical Center
  • Provides supervision and instruction to psychiatry resident MD’s and medical students

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