Are You at Risk for Depression?
Are you at risk for clinical depression? Knowing what factors increase your risk of having major depression may help you get the best medical help when you need it. Depression treatment is most effective early on.
What Are the Risk Factors for Depression?
There are a number of significant risk factors for depression that you should be aware of:
- Genetics. A family history of depression may increase your risk. It's thought that depression is sometimes passed genetically across generations. The exact way this happens, however, is not clear.
- Death or loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one can trigger symptoms of major depression.
- Conflict. Personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends may lead to depression.
- Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse is a major risk factor for depression.
- Major events. Even good events, such as moving or graduating, can put you at risk for becoming clinically depressed. Other events that increase risk include changing jobs, losing a job or income, getting married or divorced, retiring.
- Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.
- Certain medications. Depression can be a side effect of a medication you take for another condition.
- Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major depression.
- Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.
How Can I Know my Risk for Depression?
Talk to your doctor about your personal risk for depression. You can also measure your risk factors for depression with WebMD's tool Rate Your Risk for Depression.