Reactive vs Endogenous

Check out our Patreon site!

This particular post is one that was requested when I was asked what my trigger was for my depression.  It was something that not many people have heard about, as they don’t realise there are a couple of different types of depression, so the person I was talking to requested that I write an article about it.  Let’s have a look!

Reactive vs Endogenous

When I went to see the therapist for my CBT therapy, he did his best to try and find a trigger for my depression.  A lot of the time, there is something that has set it all in motion, which has triggered those feelings of sadness and, thus, culminated in the diagnosis of “depression”.  As he probed, asking question after question, he was increasingly puzzled as there was nothing forthcoming that seemed to be a trigger of any kind.  We went through an extensive list of different things that have happened in my life. Significant break-up?  Death in the family?  I’m sure you can imagine the sorts of questions.  In short, there was nothing.

I had no trigger.

Admittedly, I still haven’t found a trigger, we don’t know what has caused this yet.  Still, it led him to diagnose me with endogenous depression.  That, naturally, then led to the question: what is endogenous depression?  Well, let me tell you.

Reactive Depression

To explain what endogenous depression is, I must first explain reactive depression to you.  This one is the more common of the two and the one that people are more aware of.  According to, Reactive Depression is “An inappropriate state of depression that is precipitated by events in the person’s life arising as a consequence of severe life events.”  In other words, it is exactly what it says on the tin: reactive.

One of the most obvious examples to this would be a significant break-up. If your depression is caused because of that then it is known as reactive. Similarly, although it has to be distinguished from normal grief, depression as a result of a death in the family or someone close to you is also reactive.

In a nutshell, reactive depression is the most common type of depression that people identify.  There are almost always triggers for depression, some event that has precipitated the onset of depression.  This is true for most people, at least according to the therapist that I spoke to.

So what does that make endogenous depression?

Endogenous Depression

According to that same therapist, endogenous depression is the other side of the coin.  HealthLine says that it isn’t widely diagnosed, which is probably why not many people have heard of it.  I’d certainly never heard of it when my therapist mentioned it to me, which is probably where my own curiosity into it came from.

So, as far as what it says on the tin, endogenous depression is the opposite of reactive depression.  Endogenous, according to the dictionary, means: “not attributable to any external or environmental factor.”  With this in mind, it stands to reason that endogenous depression would, therefore, be a type of depression with no discernible cause.

My therapist says that’s what I have.

You see, out of all the normal questions that he has to ask, no answers were forthcoming.  For my depression, there seems to be no trigger at all, which suggests that it is endogenous.  Now – again, according to HealthLine – endogenous depression is usually put down to a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors.  They say it occurs without any obvious trigger and the symptoms can often appear suddenly and for no apparent reason.

What Do You Think?

Do you think these two types of depression are basically the same thing? Do you think the professionals are making mountains out of molehills and over-complicating the situation?  It’s got potential.  Myself, I think I’m inclined to believe them…

Why not subscribe?

Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!

Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.