Skip to content

Depression Health Center

Font Size

Depression - What Increases Your Risk?

Experts don't know why some people get depression and others don't. But certain things make you likely to get depression. These are called risk factors.

Important risk factors for depression include:

Recommended Related to Depression

Generic Antidepressants: What You Need to Know

The Food and Drug Administration sees no difference between brand-name and generic medications for depression. Most psychiatrists readily prescribe generics as effective copies of the original. That said, it is not at all rare for patients who switch to a generic from a brand-name medication to experience a difference. Sometimes they feel a return of the old sadness, anxiety, and helplessness that the antidepressant helped to lift. Other times, they get an unusual jolt of the same side effects that...

Read the Generic Antidepressants: What You Need to Know article > >

  • Having a father, mother, brother, or sister who has had depression.
  • Having had depression before.
  • Having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • One-time stressful events, such as the death of a loved one, losing your independence or your job, or having a serious accident.

Other risk factors include:

  • Long-term (chronic) stressful situations, such as living in poverty, having marriage or family problems, or helping someone who has a long-term medical problem.
  • Physical or sexual abuse in childhood or in a relationship, such as domestic abuse or violence.
  • Getting older.

Medical risk factors

Medical problems also may cause depression or make it worse. These problems include:

  • Abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Having a long-term (chronic) health problem, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, or chronic pain. Read more about depression and chronic illness.
  • Having a mental health problem or behavior disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dementia, anxiety disorder, or an eating disorder.
  • Having had a recent serious illness or surgery.
  • Having a health problem such as anemia or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Treating the health problem usually cures the depression.
  • Using certain medicines, such as steroids or narcotics. If you stop using the medicine, the depression will probably go away.

Other risk factors for women

Women have more risk factors. These include:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 22, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed and feeling blue.
    light therapy
    What are the symptoms?
     
    depressed man sitting on hallway floor
    Learn the truth about this serious illness.
    Sad woman looking out of the window
    Tips to stay the treatment course.
     
    unhappy teen boy
    Health Check
    woman relaxing with exercise ball
    Article
     
    Pills with smiley faces
    Article
    Teen girl huddled outside house
    Article
     
    Depressed man sitting in hospital hallway
    Article
    antidepressants slideshow
    Article
     
    pill bottle
    Article
    Winding path
    Article