What are the causes of major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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The specific cause of major depressive disorder is not known. As with most psychiatric disorders, major depressive disorder appears to be a multifactorial and heterogeneous group of disorders involving both genetic and environmental factors.

Evidence from family and twin studies indicates that with depression that develops in early childhood, the transmission from parents to children appears to be related more to psychosocial influences than to genetics. [14] Adolescent-onset and adult-onset depression, while more heritable than prepubertal depression, likewise reflect an interaction between genes and environmental stressors.

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