Risk factors of depression


Depression can happen to anyone, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:  

Family history
An immediate family member who suffers from depression can increase your risk. There’s a belief that depression may be genetic. The exact manner in which it’s passed through our genes is not yet fully proven or understood though. 

Early childhood trauma
Traumatic experiences during childhood have been linked to an increased risk of depression. These include:
• The death of a parent.
• Physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
• Neglect.
• Divorce.
• Exposure to violence.

Ongoing stress is a common cause of depression in adults. Divorce, unemployment, financial strain, illness, and strained relationships can cause prolonged stress, and increase your risk for depression.

Victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse are more likely to suffer from depression. Depression may only manifest many years after the abuse occurred.

Depression and alcoholism often go hand-in-hand. Alcohol is a depressant and can either trigger or worsen depression.

Major life events
Significant events like moving into a new home, a career change, graduation, divorce, or the death of a loved one can increase your risk of developing depression.

Up to 70 percent of people suffering from depression are women. The prevalence is higher among women as they're likely to experience postpartum depression (after birth), and menopause.

Depression often begins in the early stages of your 20s and 30s. Children may also suffer from depression from childhood abuse, the loss of a loved one, a pet, or a friend. 

A serious illness like cancer, for example, can leave you in a state of not wanting to accept or live with the diagnosis. The stress and pain that come with the illness may take its toll on your mental state, leading to depression. 

Work status
Being unemployed for over six months or close to a year can leave you feeling vulnerable, and you may be overcome with intense emotions that could keep you in a depressive state.

Your environment plays an important role in your emotional wellbeing. Being isolated or crowded could be overwhelming and lead to depression.

Major disputes with friends and family may lead to vulnerability, stress and depression. It can also lead to suicide.   

If you think you may be suffering from depression, get help. If you haven’t been to a psychologist before, ask your doctor for a referral.

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