It seems from ancient texts that human beings have always suffered from depression. Saul, it appears, suffered a bout of it when the Philistines were being uppity and he had lost his faith in God; and Hippocrates, the famous ancient Greek physician who is considered to be the father of medicine, described what he called 'melancholia' in the same terms as modern-day depression. Yet even after thousands of years the definitive cause of depression is still something of a mystery to scientific researchers worldwide. There does seem to be agreement on the fact that there is no single cause for depression, but rather a number of contributory factors which come together and trigger a depressive episode in people who are vulnerable.
This consensus is only a jumping-off point, however, because no one is sure which combination of factors is needed, or why one person reacts to one set of contributory factors and another does not. And it is even true that a person who is vulnerable one time might not be so vulnerable the next. So unfortunately there is no single formula that states A + B+C=depression, as, for instance, you have in equation low immune system + flu virus = bout of flu. It is best to think of depression as a cake, and the factors that contribute to it are the ingredients. There are many different methods and many different ingredients that can be used to make a cake. The tiniest inconsistency in temperature or ingredients can change the outcome. Not to mention the fact that you can make it exactly the same way twice and get a totally different result.
Even if there is no simple formula, there is still a lot you can learn about the roots of your depressive symptoms. Depression ingredients include various biological, psychological, physical and social factors, and this article outlines all these factors in detail, and also describes how they might interact with each other, so that you have a clearer idea about how you might have become vulnerable to this disease. But remember, no one factor can be said to cause depression every time and in every case. If this were true, then, say, everyone who was socially deprived would be expected to contract depressive symptoms, and this is certainly not the case.
The good news is that most of these depression triggers are open to change. For instance, if your life reflects psychological factors such as childhood neglect and negative thinking, then you can find help in facing up to these problems and so reduce the number of factors in your life that might make you prone to depression in the future. Or if stress is a contributory factor you can identify what is causing you to be so stressed and go about modifying these elements. Or if low levels of EPA arc a factor – which Basant Puri has shown them to be then you can increase your EPA levels and help alleviate your depression. We explain this biological factor Basam Puri's fatty acid theory about low levels of EPA in the brain in detail in this article; it is one that he believes is crucial in triggering depressive illness, and which challenges the current thinking about the biochemistry of depression. We go back millions of years to the beginnings of human brain development, and chart the EPA theory through the years of research and trials to the point Dr Puri has now reached, where he can put it into practical application in the treatment of depression. So to answer the question 'Why do we get depressed" let's first look at the various contributory factors and see to what extent your life might reflect these elements.