The precise causes of depression are still unclear, but most experts think that a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors contribute to the widespread mental illness.
Certain things tend to set off depressive episodes for certain types of people. Here are some known depression risk factors broken down by demographic:
Depression Risk in Women
Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. Moreover, women are twice as likely to make a suicide attempt. Some depression risk factors in women are:
- Stressful situations: This is especially true for women living in poverty and who have suffered sexual abuse.
- Hormonal factors: Many scientists believe that female hormones could contribute to depression, since girls seem to be diagnosed with depression as often as boys before puberty. Menstruation and menopause have also been linked to elevated depression risk.
- Postpartum depression: The stress, discomfort and hormones associated with pregnancy make it a significant risk factor for depression in women. Postpartum depression in 10 to 15 percent of women.
Depression Risk in Men
Whereas women are at higher risk for attempting suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. As men get older, they tend to experience more symptoms of depression; they often hide their negative feelings from loved ones. Some risk factors in men include:
- Substance abuse: Men use drugs or alcohol more frequently to conceal their depression symptoms.
- Stress: Especially between the ages of 40 and 60, stress is one of the most significant depression risk factors for men.
- Relationship difficulties: Separation, divorce, and impotency are all tied to depression in men.
Depression in Children and Teens
Around 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression before they reach the age of 18. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents.
- Family history: Children whose parents have depression (especially the mother) are at an increased risk for the disease as well. Moreover, familial tensions can contribute to a depression diagnosis.
- Stress: Illness, neglect, abuse, bullying and academic anxiety can trigger depression in teens
- Substance abuse: In adolescence, alcohol or drug use may be a symptom or a cause of depression.
Do you or someone you care for have depression? See if you qualify for Segal Institutes’ clinical research study on depression today!