Depression is a disease. It's not caused by personal weakness.  When you have depression, chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters are out of balance.

Most experts believe a combination of family history (your genes) and stressful life events may cause depression.

Life events that can cause depression include:

  • Childbirth;
  • A death in the family or of a close friend;
  • Problems at work or in relationships;
  • Finding out you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis, heart disease, or cancer.

Just because you have a family member with depression or have stressful life events doesn't mean you'll get depression.

You also may get depressed even if there is no reason you can think of.