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What causes low mood?

There are many different things that can cause low mood. For some people, events in their past or circumstances in their present can be the key factor. For others, a genetic inheritance might be to blame. Sometimes an unhealthy lifestyle can cause or contribute to low mood. Whether or not you are aware of the causes of your low mood, it can be helpful to speak to a doctor about what you’re experiencing.

Common causes of low mood

Traumatic experiences in the past

It’s common for people who experienced trauma in childhood to suffer from low mood later on life. If you experienced abuse, neglect, bullying, or bereavement as a child this could be the cause of your feelings of sadness, worry, and hopelessness as an adult.

Stressful circumstances in the present

Low mood can be caused by stressful events or situations in the present such as:

  • Losing a loved one
  • Losing your job
  • A relationship coming to an end
  • Going through a big change e.g. moving house, changing your job
  • Being the victim of abuse, violence, or bullying

Pregnancy and childbirth

If you are pregnant, or have recently given birth, you may be susceptible to a low mood that could develop into something more serious. It’s common to experience “the baby blues” after childbirth, but if your low mood persists this could be a sign of postnatal depression.

Other health conditions

Feeling anxious or stressed is known to contribute to low mood. You might also be more susceptible to low mood if you have a physical condition. Dealing with a long-term illness can be very difficult, particularly if it impacts on your daily life, or is life-threatening. Low mood can also be exacerbated by lack of sleep, low blood sugar, hormonal changes, and certain prescription medications.


Taking recreational drugs and drinking too much alcohol can be factors in low mood. You might be more susceptible if you don’t sleep well, don’t exercise, and eat a poor diet. It’s also understood that loneliness and isolation can play a significant role in low mood – if you find yourself cut off from friends and family, or you work very “antisocial” hours, you could be at risk.

You can book an appointment to speak to a GP with Doctor Care Anywhere today if you're worrying about low mood. 


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