Endogenous and Exogenous Depression: What to Know (2023)

Endogenous depression is also known as “biologically based” depression. Here’s a helpful primer to help you get better.

Endogenous depression refers to a form of depression that has no obvious external cause — no inciting stress, trauma, or grief seems to trigger it. This may indicate that genetic or biological factors could be causing periods of depression.

Sometimes you may find it difficult to pinpoint a cause of depression. Spells of depression can occur at any age, with or without a big change in your life. You could be experiencing something like a “biologically based depression” — endogenous depression.

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health say that genetics and a family history of depression are risk factors for developing depression at some point in your life.

All this suggests a need for researchers to distinguish different origins of depression. Internal and external factors of depression might lead us to a better understanding of depression and how to overcome it more effectively.

Today, the official diagnosis for depression has changed.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), anyone experiencing endogenous or exogenous depression will likely receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Medical professionals no longer give endogenous depression as an official diagnosis, and the DSM-5 no longer lists endogenous depression as a diagnostic category. Still, some researchers and mental health professionals find that locating the sources of depression — internal or external — could help you with finding treatment that best suits the specific needs.

The exact cause of depression is still unknown. But researchers and mental health professionals believe that there are many contributing factors that could lead to you developing the mental health condition, including:

  • family history
  • genetics
  • chronic stress
  • conflicting medications
  • substance use
  • sudden life changes
  • trauma
  • home environment or upbringing

Any combination of these factors may contribute to clinical depression.

(Video) An Overview of Endogenous and Exogenous Depression

You can consider some of these factors “external” — like suddenly losing your job, experiencing a natural disaster, or grieving the death of a loved one.

You can also see some of these risk factors for depression as “internal” — like a family history of mood disorders, which genetically predisposes a person to a higher chance of having these disorders. If you were to feel depressed and think it’s because it runs in your family, this could be considered a form of endogenous depression.

Endogenous depression means a form of depression triggered by internal contributing factors, while exogenous depression refers to a form of depression brought on by external contributing factors.

Dr. Amelia Kelley, a therapist practicing in North Carolina and the author of “What I Wish I Knew,”explains how endogenous depression can feel sudden or mysterious at first: “Some describe their experience with this type of depression as feeling that it occurs for no specific reason.”

You can feel assured that endogenous depression does not mean your condition is any worse. Just because it may feel unexpected, does not mean your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery would be more difficult.

For example, talk therapy may offer healing and consolation to those processing a loss or trauma (external causes of depression). However, with endogenous depression, you may find that it takes longer than anticipated to discover the root of your depression.

“With exogenous depression, the source is often an external stressor such as trauma, loss, or other chronic issues,” says Kelley. “Those who suffer from this form of depression may feel that the world is a dark and sad place and that circumstances are the source of their depression.”

If you have symptoms of depression, help is available. Typical treatments for depression include talk therapy and antidepressants, depending on whether the cause is internal or external.

Symptoms of endogenous and exogenous depression

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While endogenous and exogenous depression have different sources that trigger depression, the symptoms present in very similar ways and could include:

  • feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
  • low energy and fatigue
  • chronic anxiety and feelings of sadness
  • changes to appetite or noticeable weight changes
  • trouble falling asleep or oversleeping
  • strong thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • loss of interest in favorite hobbies or tasks

If you have depression, you could experience some of these symptoms every day for 2 weeks or longer. You may find that it’s time to consider reaching out to a mental health professional for possible diagnosis and treatment.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it’s taking longer than expected to heal with treatment. It can be helpful and reassuring to remind yourself that you’re successfully taking steps toward feeling better and that tomorrow is a new day.

Whether you have endogenous or exogenous depression, your treatment plan will look very similar.

Most clinicians recommend either psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Your mental health professional will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your needs using an empathetic approach, designing it based on your time, your financial health, and other complementary resources.

Therapy

Talking with a mental health professional or trained counselor can help you overcome depression. There are many different types of therapy that all aim to help you heal and cope with the events in your life that may be contributing to your depression.

Treatment for both endogenous and exogenous depression could involve therapy, but the therapeutic techniques might vary somewhat.

“These treatments are also helpful for endogenous depression, but because endogenous depression is more internal, there is also a focus on improving thinking patterns with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT),” says Kelley.

CBT is a scientifically proven method of therapy that helps you look at the people and circumstances in your life and how you react to them.

(Video) Cause of Disease 1, Endogenous factors

By using these CBT techniques in your everyday life, you can learn how to better approach the symptoms of depression — along with how to track and manage your feelings.

Antidepressant medication

Antidepressant medications can help reduce the severity of your depression symptoms.

Each type of antidepressant works in different ways. Still, most medications influence neurotransmitters in the brain and how they interact. This affects how you feel every day.

For example, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) continue to be one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They work by limiting the absorption of serotonin — or the “happy chemical” in your brain.

“Though each type of depression may be instigated in different ways,” says Kelley, “research has shown that both [endogenous and exogenous depression] respond favorably to anti-depressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Other antidepressants include:

  • atypical antidepressants
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Your doctor or mental health professional can prescribe antidepressant medications. Some telemedicine services may even be able to prescribe you antidepressants online after a medical consultation.

(Video) Endogenous and Exogenous depression???

Seeking professional mental health services might feel intimidating at first, especially if you don’t know where to look.

There are many resources available to help you find the right help — even when you’re feeling really low.

Check out our Find a Therapist and Mental Health Support resource that lists the many types of therapists, mental health apps, and cost-effective resources available.

If you’re looking to talk with someone about your search and where to find local support systems and support groups, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a 24/7 hotline where you can learn more about at the SAMHSA’s National Helpline.

If you think someone may be at risk of self-harm or hurting another person, resources are available to help with this serious situation. You can get supportive help from a crisis and suicide prevention hotline. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Everyone’s experience with depression is unique. You can explore treatments on your terms. If you feel ready for help, trained mental health professionals are available and can help you manage the symptoms of depression.

Whether you feel the cause of your depression is genetic or due to a traumatic event, the symptoms that you experience can be challenging in your daily life. There are resources that can help you not only cope but thrive.

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When you find the right resources and treatment plan, you can begin to feel better, overcome symptoms of depression, and improve your everyday life.

FAQs

Which of the following is true about the distinction between endogenous and exogenous depression? ›

Endogenous depression seems to arise from within, where exogenous depression is linked to specific external events. Regardless of the cause, depression is generally treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.

What causes exogenous depression? ›

Exogenous depression is a type of reactive depression, meaning that it results from a specific, external cause. It often mimics situational depression, in that the individual experiences depression as a result of a particular event like a divorce, financial hardship, or medical issue like surgery or a stroke.

What is most likely to be a major cause of endogenous major depression? ›

Endogenous depression occurs without the presence of stress or trauma. In other words, it has no apparent outside cause. Instead, it may be primarily caused by genetic and biological factors. This is why endogenous depression might also be referred to as “biologically based” depression.

What are the 3 basic approaches to treating depression? ›

Three of the more common methods used in depression treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Often, a blended approach is used.

What is difference between exogenous and endogenous? ›

Exogenous variables are independent, and endogenous variables are dependent. Therefore, if the variable does not depend on variables within the model, it's an exogenous variable. However, if the variable depends on variables within the model, it's an endogenous variable.

Is Serotonin endogenous or exogenous? ›

Receptors. The 5-HT receptors, the receptors for serotonin, are located on the cell membrane of nerve cells and other cell types in animals, and mediate the effects of serotonin as the endogenous ligand and of a broad range of pharmaceutical and psychedelic drugs.

What are the 5 levels of depression? ›

Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others. Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies.

What are internal causes of depression? ›

Research suggests that depression doesn't spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, and stressful life events.

What is endogenous psychosis? ›

history of how the terms 'endogenous' and 'psychosis' came together to be. known as the 'endogenous psychoses'. Most accounts start with the premise. that the endogenous psychoses are schizophrenia and manic-depressive. insanity (Wyrsch 1956, Schneider 1959).

What drugs treat endogenous depression? ›

Sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is effective in the treatment of endogenous depression. Paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is effective in the treatment of endogenous depression.

What are the top 5 causes of depression? ›

Causes - Clinical depression
  • Stressful events. Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. ...
  • Personality. ...
  • Family history. ...
  • Giving birth. ...
  • Loneliness. ...
  • Alcohol and drugs. ...
  • Illness.

How does depression affect the brain? ›

Depression causes the hippocampus to raise its cortisol levels, impeding the development of neurons in your brain. The shrinkage of brain circuits is closely connected to the reduction of the affected part's function. While other cerebral areas shrink due to high levels of cortisol, the amygdala enlarges.

Which form of therapy is most effective for major depression? ›

Studies have shown that cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for depression and is comparable in effectiveness to antidepressants and interpersonal or psychodynamic therapy. The combination of cognitive therapy and antidepressants has been shown to effectively manage severe or chronic depression.

What therapy is most successful in treating depression? ›

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy is considered by many to be the gold standard in depression treatment.

What is the fastest way to treat depression? ›

As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals.
  1. Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. ...
  2. Eat healthy. ...
  3. Get enough sleep. ...
  4. Challenge negative thoughts. ...
  5. Check with your doctor before using supplements. ...
  6. Do something new. ...
  7. Avoid alcohol and other drugs.
1 Oct 2021

What is the crucial difference between the endogenous and the exogenous models? ›

For econometric applications, the crucial difference between an endogenous and an exogenous variable is that we must assume that exogenous variables are not systematically affected by changes in the other variables of the model, especially by changes in the endogenous variables.

What is the difference between exogenous and endogenous growth? ›

Exogenous (external) growth factors include things such as the rate of technological advancement or the savings rate. Endogenous (internal) growth factors, meanwhile, would be capital investment, policy decisions, and an expanding workforce population.

What is the difference between endogenous and exogenous attention? ›

Endogenous attention typically increases contrast sensitivity via a contrast gain (α) change, whereas exogenous attention increases maximal contrast responses via a response gain change (Ling and Carrasco, 2006; Pestilli et al., 2009; Fernández and Carrasco, 2020; but see Morrone et al., 2002, 2004).

What is meant by endogenous depression? ›

Endogenous depression (melancholia) is an atypical sub-class of major depressive disorder (clinical depression). It could be caused by genetic and biological factors. Endogenous depression occurs due to the presence of an internal (cognitive, biological) stressor instead of an external (social, environmental) stressor.

Is dopamine endogenous or exogenous? ›

The first, most obvious and generally assumed possibility is that the dopamine generated from exogenous L-dopa is subject to the same biochemical and functional principles as those pertaining to the dopamine formed from endogenous tyrosine (5), i.e. that it is also predominantly packed into storage vesicles, that the ...

Is love serotonin or dopamine? ›

Researchers have scanned the brains of people who are madly in love and found a heavy surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain's reward system that helps people feel pleasure. Dopamine, along with other chemicals, gives us that energy, focus, and obsession we feel when we're wild about someone.

What is the most severe type of depression? ›

Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

What is the first stage of depression called? ›

Stage 1: Origin

This is a time when the brain starts to change, becoming more susceptible to depression and sadness. Signs include hopelessness, longing, general sadness, and fatigue.

What is the final stage of depression? ›

Depression creates a sensation of isolation as if you are lost in the wilderness with no direction. The final stage is acceptance, which means you have finally made peace with the reality of your mental illness.

What is endogenous stress? ›

Endogenous stress represents a major source of genome instability, but is in essence difficult to apprehend. Incorporation of labeled radionuclides into DNA constitutes a tractable model to analyze cellular responses to endogenous attacks.

What social factors cause depression? ›

Social and Relational Factors in Major Depression
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Divorce or marital problems such as infidelity.
  • Loss of a job, financial problems, or poverty leading to homelessness.
  • A chaotic, unsafe, and dangerous home life such as violence in the family.
  • Abusive relationships that undermine self-confidence.

Can depression be caused by external factors? ›

Chemical pollutants, natural disasters, and non-chemical environmental stress all raise someone's risk profile for depression. Childhood trauma, long-term stress, relationship strife, and significant loss can all trigger depression symptoms.

What is exogenous psychosis? ›

SREP is characterized by altered states of consciousness, persecutory delusions, visual and cenesthetic hallucinations, impulsivity and psychomotor agitation, affectiveand negative symptoms, a pervasive feeling of unreality and intact insight.

Is there a lesser form of depression? ›

Dysthymia is a milder, but long-lasting form of depression. It's also called persistent depressive disorder. People with this condition may also have bouts of major depression at times. Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts.

What is psychogenic depression? ›

Psychotic depression, also known as depressive psychosis, is a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms. It can occur in the context of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

What is endogenous psychology? ›

An emotion or behavior is endogenous if it is spontaneously generated from an individual's internal state. So for example endogenous depression is thought to be caused by biological changes in neurochemistry as opposed to reactive depression caused by factors in the environment such as family disagreements.

What health conditions cause psychosis? ›

The following medical conditions have been known to trigger psychotic episodes in some people:
  • HIV and AIDS.
  • malaria.
  • syphilis.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Parkinson's disease.
  • hypoglycaemia (an abnormally low level of glucose in the blood)
  • lupus.
  • multiple sclerosis.

What are the characteristics of a passive dependent personality? ›

People with DPD tend to display needy, passive, and clinging behavior, and have a fear of separation. Other common characteristics of this personality disorder include: Inability to make decisions, even everyday decisions like what to wear, without the advice and reassurance of others.

What are the 11 symptoms of depression? ›

Common Symptoms of Depression
  • Consistently low mood. ...
  • Disinterest or avoidance of once enjoyed hobbies. ...
  • Trouble with concentration or memory. ...
  • Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns. ...
  • Decreased self-care. ...
  • Physical pains and additional health issues. ...
  • Feeling pessimistic or hopeless. ...
  • Increased irritability or anger.
3 Feb 2022

What are the 8 forms of depression? ›

8 types of depression: symptoms and treatments
  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Persistent depressive disorder.
  • Seasonal affective disorder.
  • Postpartum depression.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
  • Psychotic depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Atypical depression.

What are the 6 main different types of depression? ›

6 Different Types of Depression: Major, Minor, Manic & More
  • Major Depressive Disorder. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder in which a person experiences most of the following symptoms for more than two weeks: ...
  • Dysthymia. ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Psychotic Depression. ...
  • Postpartum Depression. ...
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder.
30 Mar 2021

Can your brain heal from depression? ›

Research suggests that some of the physical brain changes caused by depression can be reversed. A 2016 study showed that interventions, such as antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy, may help reduce inflammation caused by depression.

Can depression permanently damage the brain? ›

A depression not only makes a person feel sad and dejected – it can also damage the brain permanently, so the person has difficulties remembering and concentrating once the disease is over. Up to 20 percent of depression patients never make a full recovery.

Can depression change your face? ›

Long-term depression has disastrous effects on skin, because the chemicals associated with the condition can prevent your body from repairing inflammation in cells. "These hormones affect sleep, which will show on our faces in the form of baggy, puffy eyes and a dull or lifeless complexion," says Dr. Wechsler.

What kind of therapist helps people with depression? ›

Because cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy work well together to treat depression and anxiety disorders, the two are often combined in an approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on addressing both the negative thought patterns and the behaviors that contribute to depression.

What interventions are used for depression? ›

Depression Treatments for Adults
  • Behavioral Therapy. ...
  • Cognitive Therapy. ...
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) ...
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) ...
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) ...
  • Psychodynamic Therapy. ...
  • Supportive Therapy. ...
  • Medications.

How many sessions are required for depression? ›

If CBT is recommended, you'll usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every 2 weeks. The course of treatment usually lasts for between 5 and 20 sessions, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.

Is depression curable or just treatable? ›

There's no cure for depression, but there are lots of effective treatments. People can recover from depression and live long and healthy lives.

Which warning signs can be used to identify suicidal person check all that apply? ›

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Loss of interest.
  • Irritability.
  • Humiliation/Shame.
  • Agitation/Anger.
  • Relief/Sudden Improvement.

What are three factors that successful therapy has in common? ›

The most widely studied common factors include the therapeutic alliance, therapist empathy, positive regard, genuineness, and client expectations for the outcome of therapy (i.e., the extent to which clients believe therapy will be helpful in alleviating problems) (Cuijpers, Reijnders, & Huibers, 2019).

What vitamins help with depression? ›

Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.

How do you overcome depression and overthinking? ›

Tips for addressing ruminating thoughts
  1. Distract yourself. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. ...
  2. Plan to take action. ...
  3. Take action. ...
  4. Question your thoughts. ...
  5. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem. ...
  7. Try meditation. ...
  8. Understand your triggers.
15 Nov 2019

How do doctors determine if you have depression? ›

Your doctor can't diagnose depression through a lab test or X-ray. Instead, doctors must make a diagnosis by asking questions about your feelings and behaviour. That said, your doctor may still do a physical exam or order blood work to rule out other causes for your symptoms.

What is endogenous stress? ›

Endogenous stress represents a major source of genome instability, but is in essence difficult to apprehend. Incorporation of labeled radionuclides into DNA constitutes a tractable model to analyze cellular responses to endogenous attacks.

What is endogenous psychosis? ›

history of how the terms 'endogenous' and 'psychosis' came together to be. known as the 'endogenous psychoses'. Most accounts start with the premise. that the endogenous psychoses are schizophrenia and manic-depressive. insanity (Wyrsch 1956, Schneider 1959).

What are internal causes of depression? ›

Research suggests that depression doesn't spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, and stressful life events.

Is depression caused by external factors? ›

Environmental problems can trigger depression in someone with a genetic predisposition for the disorder. But even those who don't have genetic risk factors for depression can develop symptoms due to environmental factors.

What are the 5 levels of depression? ›

Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others. Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies.

What are exogenous in psychology? ›

adj. originating outside the body, referring, for example, to drugs (exogenous chemicals) or to phenomena, conditions, or disorders resulting from the influence of external factors.

What is endogenous psychology? ›

An emotion or behavior is endogenous if it is spontaneously generated from an individual's internal state. So for example endogenous depression is thought to be caused by biological changes in neurochemistry as opposed to reactive depression caused by factors in the environment such as family disagreements.

What is exogenous psychosis? ›

SREP is characterized by altered states of consciousness, persecutory delusions, visual and cenesthetic hallucinations, impulsivity and psychomotor agitation, affectiveand negative symptoms, a pervasive feeling of unreality and intact insight.

Is there a lesser form of depression? ›

Dysthymia is a milder, but long-lasting form of depression. It's also called persistent depressive disorder. People with this condition may also have bouts of major depression at times. Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts.

What is psychogenic depression? ›

Psychotic depression, also known as depressive psychosis, is a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms. It can occur in the context of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

What are 5 causes of depression? ›

Causes - Clinical depression
  • Stressful events. Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. ...
  • Personality. ...
  • Family history. ...
  • Giving birth. ...
  • Loneliness. ...
  • Alcohol and drugs. ...
  • Illness.

What happens in the brain with depression? ›

Depression causes the hippocampus to raise its cortisol levels, impeding the development of neurons in your brain. The shrinkage of brain circuits is closely connected to the reduction of the affected part's function. While other cerebral areas shrink due to high levels of cortisol, the amygdala enlarges.

What is the most common way to treat depression? ›

Medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression. Your primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. However, many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.

Is depression genetic or learned? ›

Depression is known to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing this disease. However, research into the genetics of depression is in its early stages, and very little is known for certain about the genetic basis of the disease.

What social factors cause depression? ›

Social and Relational Factors in Major Depression
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Divorce or marital problems such as infidelity.
  • Loss of a job, financial problems, or poverty leading to homelessness.
  • A chaotic, unsafe, and dangerous home life such as violence in the family.
  • Abusive relationships that undermine self-confidence.

Is depression more genetic or environmental? ›

Scientists believe that as many as 40 percent of those with depression can trace it to a genetic link. Environmental and other factors may make up the other 60 percent.

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