A risk factor is something that makes the probability of something happening more likely. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen-simply that it could. The more risk factors you have, the increased risk you run of developing a condition or disease.
Depression can be triggered by various means, physical, psychological or environmental and every person is different.
If depression or mental illness runs in your family, then you may be predisposed to developing depression yourself. A child with parents who suffer from depression is more likely to develop depression, especially as a teenager when triggers for depression are more common.
People who suffer from chronic pain or debilitating physical conditions are at a higher risk for developing depression than those in good health. Constant unrelenting pain and the prescription drugs that are used to treat these conditions can trigger major depressive episodes.
Physical changes in your body can also result in change in mental health. Patients who have suffered stroke, HIV/AIDS, heart attacks, cancer, Parkinson’s disease or other major physical changes are at risk for developing depression
Another contributing factor for depression is experiencing a major life change. Moving, selling or buying a house, job loss or gain, divorce or new marriage. Stressful situations at work, the loss of a spouse, loved one or beloved pet are all difficult situations.
If you’ve already had a major bout of depression then your risk of a reoccurrence is greatly increased.
People who have little or no social contact or support often become depressed. Young mothers at home with small children sometimes feel isolated and say that they feel down. Getting together with other mothers for play groups can relieve their feelings of aloneness and help with their depression. Certain psychological factors, like low self-esteem and a pessimistic view of the world can make a person more prone towards developing depression than those with high self-esteem and an optimistic view of things.
Low socio-economic status can also put you at a higher risk for developing depression, but the reasons vary. Whether it’s due to financial stress, perceived lower social status, cultural issues or simply every day stress, depression is more common in this group.
Women are more likely to suffer from depression than their male counterparts-however whether that’s due to the fact that most men do not seek help or even admit that they are having problems or because women experience depression more than men-is not entirely clear.
Being over the age of 65 increases your chances of depression, due to failing health, feelings of isolation, loss of mobility, chronic pain or bereavement and the elderly are less likely to admit to needing help for this issue.
If you’re having problems sleeping and your insomnia becomes chronic you are at a very high risk for developing major depression. Restful sleep is essential for maintaining optimal health and if you’re not able to sleep you should seek help so the problem does not worsen.
There are many risk factors for depression, but thankfully this mental health issue is treatable and your doctor can help you decide if medication or counseling is in your best interests.