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

Unhappy With Your Antidepressant?

If you’ve ever taken an antidepressant, you know that the first several days or even weeks can be rough. Antidepressants take time to work and some can cause unpleasant side effects like dizziness, nausea, sweaty palms, and diarrhea. When you put all that together, you may start to doubt the value of a medication that takes a month to make you feel better. Chances are good that you will feel better, eventually. If your response to medication is inadequate after 6-8 weeks, talk with your doctor about...

Read the Unhappy With Your Antidepressant? 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:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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.
    jk rowling
    Famous people who've struggled with persistent sadness.
     
    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
    jk rowling
    Slideshow
     
    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