Although depression can affect anyone, certain factors may increase your likelihood of developing the disorder.
Depression is a treatable condition and early detection and treatment can bring an end to your suffering! Please make yourself aware of the possible risk factors:
- Genetics: A history of depression in your family may make it more likely for you to get it. It's thought that the condition can be passed down. The exact way this happens, though, isn't clear. However, depression can occur in people with no family history, which is why some scientists believe it can be a product of both genes and life experiences.
- Early Childhood Experience — Early childhood trauma, such as loss of a parent before adolescence, child neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and parental divorce are all linked to increased risk for adult depression.
- Stress — Negative life events, such as divorce, loss of a loved one or loss of employment are associated with increased depression. Research shows that chronic stresses (such as illness, lack of social support and numerous “daily hassles”) are also linked to depression.
- Death or loss: Sadness and grief are normal reactions. Sometimes, though, such big stresses can bring serious symptoms of depression, like thoughts of suicide or feelings of worthlessness.
- Conflict: Personal turmoil or disputes with family or friends may lead to depression.
- Abuse: Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can bring it on, as well.
- Major life events: Even good things, like moving or graduating, could make you depressed. Other changes that can do that include a new job, loss of employment or income, marriage, retirement, having a baby, etc.
- Serious illness: The pain and stress that come with certain conditions can take a toll on a person’s mental state. Many chronic conditions are linked to higher rates of depression, including:
- chronic pain
- heart disease
- thyroid disease
- multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Huntington's disease
- Sleep disorders: Chronic sleep problems are associated with depression. Although experts don’t know if a lack of sleep causes depression, bouts of low mood do seem to follow periods of poor sleep.
- Medications: Depression can be a side effect of something you take for another condition. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor about changing what you take. Certain medications have been linked to depression, includes blood pressure medication; sleeping pills; sedatives; steroids and prescription painkillers.
- Substance abuse: Nearly 30% of people who abuse drugs or alcohol have depression, too. Some people misuse substances when they feel down. For others, heavy use of alcohol or drugs can bring on depression symptoms.
- Lack of social support: Prolonged social isolation and having few friends or supportive relationships is a common source of depression. Feelings of exclusion or loneliness can bring on an episode in people who are prone to mood disorders.
- Tobacco – Increased tobacco use has been noted in depressed persons and individuals with underlying or current depressive symptoms are likely to experience mood disturbances when they attempt to quit.
- Gender — It is estimated that one out of every four women and one out of every 10 men experience some type of depression during their lifetime. While women suffer from depression more often and attempt suicide more frequently, men are more successful in their suicide attempts. Women also suffer from unique forms of depression related to their unique biology and life experiences.
What Do I Do Now?
Treatment works best when you start it early. If you think you may have depression, talk with your doctor. They can help you figure out if you do and give you ways to feel better.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.