Are You at Risk for Depression?

Knowing what can raise your odds of depression may help you get the best medical care when you need it.

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.

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.

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
  • Divorce
  • Retirement
  • Having a baby

Other illnesses: Sometimes depression pairs with, or can be a reaction to, another illness. Examples include:

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.

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.

Other problems. Things like social isolation due to another illness or separation from a family or social group can lead to depression.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on September 08, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Depression in Older Adults: What it is and how to get help."

National Institute on Aging: "Don't Let the Blues Hang Around."

National Institute of Mental Health: "Depression: What Every Woman Should Know."

American Psychiatric Association.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Pub, 2000.

Fieve, R, MD. Bipolar II, Rodale Books, 2006.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: "Depression."

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: "Depression."

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