Psychological factors

Research has substantiated the clinical experience that patients with depression frequently have had adverse experiences in childhood, especially inadequate parenting or loss of a parent, especially the mother. This may lead to lack of confidence and low self-esteem as an adult, making the person more likely to have a depressive episode when they encounter, as we all inevitably do, adverse events.

The cognitive theory of depression was popularized by Beck. It proposes that depression of mood can be caused, or at least exacerbated, by a person's repeatedly and automatically thinking negative thoughts. For example, patients may 'run themselves down', or put everything that happens in the worst possible light. The corollary is that depression could be treated by training the patient to think positive thoughts, and there is indeed evidence that such training, in the form of cognitive therapy, can be effective.

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