Depression can occur at any age and no-one is immune. Studies show that women are more susceptible to depression than men. However this maybe because women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help. Many children today are now suffering from depression also. Many people wonder what causes depression so we have put together some of the causes and risk factors for you.
Some of the factors that appear to put a person at risk for having depressive symptoms may include some of the following:
- Certain medications, such as sleeping pills and some high blood pressure medications
- Chronic or serious illness, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer
- Abuse of illegal drugs or alcohol
- History of mental disorders such as eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and depression
- Blood relatives who have a history of suicide, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, or depression
- Childhood depression that started when you were a child or teen
- Stressful of traumatic events, such as the loss of or death of a loved one, sexual abuse or child abuse
- Being in a stressful relationship or having financial difficulties
According to the National Institute Of Mental Health, it has been proven that depression risks increase when someone is suffering from any of the following medical conditions. Terminal or serious illness, drug abuse or addiction, alcohol abuse, eating disorders or after a heart attack.
Risk factors for Depression
The following are medical risk factors for depression:
- Biochemical Factors. Depression is a type of psychological disorder that some believe is caused when the neurotransmitters are not in balance. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that aid in the brain’s ability to function normally. These chemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals help to regulate the many physiological functions the brain has to do. There are experts who surmise that some people are just more susceptible to depression.
- Genetic factors. Having a family member with a mood disorder can increase your risk of depression. The American Psychiatric Association indicates that if one twin (identical) has depression, the other twin has a seventy percent chance of developing depression. Depression can, however, happen in people who have no family history of depression.
- Sleep disorders. Chronic sleep problems are linked to depression. While experts don’t know if lack of sleep is the cause of depression, episodes of low mood seem to follow times of poor sleep.
- Serious illness. The stress and pain that come out of certain conditions can affect a person’s medical state. There are many chronic conditions that are connected to higher rates of depression. Some of these chronic conditions include cancer, stroke, thyroid disease, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and chronic pain. Others are Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Social Risk Factors for Depression
There are many social risk factors for depression, they include the following:
- Childhood abuse. Those who were neglected or abused as kids are at a major risk factor for getting depression. Such bad experiences can also result in other mental disorders as well.
- Women have twice the risk of having depression when compared to men. This may, however, be due to more women going for depression treatment when compared to men. There are others who believe that depression in women may be due to changes in female organs throughout their lives. Women are especially vulnerable to becoming depressed during pregnancy. They can also be prone to become depressed after giving birth and while in menopause due to hormone irregularities.
- Lack of Support. Having no support or having very few friends or relationships that are supportive is a typical source of depression. Feelings of loneliness or exclusion can bring on a major episode in mood disorders.
- Major Life Events. Even happy times, such as having a baby or getting a new job can increase a person’s chances of becoming depressed. Other life events connected to depression include retiring, buying a house, moving, and getting divorced.
- The death of a loved one. The death of a loved one causes great sadness. Sadness is a part of grief. If your grief symptoms last more than a couple of months, you need to see your doctor if this is the case. Some people will feel better in a few months, while others will have a more serious depression.
Substance Use Risk Factors for Depression
Substance abuse. In many situations, depression and substance abuse go together. Alcohol and drugs can lead to many changes in the brain that increase the chances of suffering depression. It could also be that those with depression try to medicate themselves with alcohol and drugs.
There are also certain medications that will increase the risk of getting depressed. These include prescription painkillers, steroids, sedatives, sleeping pills, and blood pressure medication.
No matter what the cause of your depression is, it is important to know that there is always help available to you. Support numbers are listed on the link on our home page for your area if you need support or someone to talk to. There is also plenty of information throughout our website that can assist you in overcoming your depression. The most important thing is to acknowledge where you are right now and make the decision that you want to make changes in your life. Ultimately it is up to you. If you are not happy with your life or where you are then you, and only you, have the power to change it.
Are you ready to take that step?