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Depression Health Center

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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

25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays

Feeling down during the holidays can be tough, especially since you seem so out of step with the world. Everyone else seems to be beaming, ruddy-cheeked, bursting with holiday spirit. You’re feeling wretched and exhausted. But here’s something to cheer you up the next time you’re stuck in a room of revelers at a holiday party: Plenty of them are probably unhappy, too. “I think a lot of people would say that the holidays are the worst time of the year,” says Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director of...

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  • 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:

Other risk factors for women

Women have more risk factors. These include:

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.
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