Learn what can raise the likelihood of a bout with this debilitating mood disorder
A serious bout with clinical depression can strike at any age. Medical professionals aren’t sure exactly what causes depression, but they have identified some factors that increase the risk of developing the disorder. Here are six keep an eye on:
A family history of depression. Numerous studies of depression in families have indicated a genetic link, and new research has identified and replicated a DNA region responsible for depression. The hope is that these advances someday will help treat or prevent depression.
A substance abuse problem. Depression and substance abuse are closely linked. In fact, substance abuse can cause depression and depression can cause substance abuse. For example, cocaine creates a temporary high, and then leads to a depressive crash.
Childhood trauma. Exposure to stress or a traumatic experience (think: abuse or neglect) can trigger depression during childhood and lead to a life-long struggle with the disorder.
Living in the city. Some research has found that people who live in urban areas have a 39 percent higher risk of mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, and a 21 percent greater risk of anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
A small social circle. Loneliness is a huge risk factor for depression; close relationships can provide a buffer against daily stressors.
A major illness. Chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, insomnia, heart disease and stroke increase the risk of developing depression. Roughly one-third of people who suffer from a serious medical problem also experience depression. Experts say this is most likely due to a combination of medications and the stress of living with a chronic condition.