Depression is more likely to affect teenagers and people between the ages of 20 and 30 years. However, that is not to say it cannot affect people outside these age brackets. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has tagged it the number one cause of disability amongst people aged 15 to 44.3 in America.
There are more women suffering from this condition than men, and this is partially because women are more likely to seek treatment.
Below are certain factors that are likely to induce symptoms of depression:
• Medications, like high blood pressure pills and sleeping pills
• Chronic illnesses, like stroke, cancer or heart attack
• Drug or alcohol abuse
• Having a history of mental illness like post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders
• Having blood relatives with history of alcoholism, suicide, depression or bipolar disorder
• Childhood depression
• Traumatic events like sexual abuse, loss of a loved one or child abuse
• Experiencing financial difficulties and going through a stressful relationships
The National Institute of Mental Health has stated that the medical conditions listed below, can increase the risk of depression.
• People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – more than 40%
• People suffering from cancer – 25%
• People suffering from addiction or drug abuse – 27%
• People suffering from Parkinson’s disease – 50%
• People suffering from eating disorders – 50 to 75%
• People who have experienced heart attack – 33%
Medical risk factors of depression
Below are some medical factors that can lead to depression:
• Biochemical Factors. Depression is a psychological disorder that can be triggered by an imbalance in the neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters can be described as chemicals that help the brain to function properly. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are examples of these chemicals and their major function is to regulate all the physiological functions of the brain. However, according to certain experts, some people are more prone to this disease than others.
• Genetic factors. People with family members who suffer from mood disorders are more susceptible to this disease. According to the American Psychiatric Association, if a person who’s an identical twin suffers from depression, there’s a 70% probability of the other twin developing depression too. However, depression can also occur in people without any family history of the disease.
• Sleep disorders. Chronic sleep disorder has also being linked to depression. Though experts are not entirely certain that lack of sleep causes depression, but most bouts of low mood tend to occur after periods of poor sleep.
• Serious illness. The pain and stress from certain medical conditions can also affect a person’s mental state. A lot of chronic medical conditions are linked to depression. Stroke, cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes and thyroid disease are examples of some of these medical conditions. Other examples include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Social risk factors of depression
Below are some of the social factors that can lead to depression:
• Childhood abuse. People who suffered abuse as children are more susceptible to depression. Bad experiences like this can also cause other mental disorders.
• Gender. Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. However, this may be due to the fact that women are more likely to seek treatment for depression than men. There’s a school of thought that believes that women suffer from depression because of all the changes that occur in the female organs through the course of their lives. Women are particularly prone to depression during pregnancy. They’re also susceptible to depression after childbirth and during menopause.
• Lack of Support. Lack of support from friends or lack of supportive relationships can lead to depression. Feeling lonely or excluded can cause a lot of mood disorders.
• Huge Life Events. Happy events like getting a job or having a baby can also increase a person’s odds of suffering from depression. Buying a house, retiring, getting divorced and moving are other examples of life events that can lead to depression.
• Loss of loved ones. Losing a loved one can cause a lot of sadness and sadness is a huge part of grief. It is advisable to seek the services of a doctor if your grief persists after some months. Some people tend to feel better after a couple of months, while there are people who end up sliding into depression.
Risk Factors Associated with Substance Use
There are certain substances that can lead to depression. Below are some of these factors:
• Substance abuse. Most times, substance abuse and depression go hand in hand. Drugs and alcohol can cause a lot of changes in the human brain that makes them more susceptible to depression. In addition, sometimes people suffering from depression often try to medicate themselves using drugs and alcohol.
• Medications. Certain medications can increase the odds of depression. Some of these medications include steroids, sleeping pills, blood pressure medications, sedatives and prescription painkillers.