Depression can affect anyone at anytime. While certain risk factors are associated with increased risk for depression, people suffering from depression may suffer from different types of depression and even display different signs and symptoms depending on the gender, age, and ethnic and cultural groups. Understanding these differences is essential to seeking treatment and ending the pain.
While depression can strike anyone at any time, research has identified several factors associated with an increased risk for depression:
Family History — Having an immediate family member with depression increases the risk of developing depression. Other mental illnesses, such as alcoholism in family members, can also increase the risk for depression.
Early Childhood Experience — Early childhood trauma, such as loss of a parent before adolescence, child neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and parental divorce are all linked to increased risk for adult depression.
Stress — Negative life events, such as divorce, loss of a loved one or loss of employment are associated with increased depression. Research shows that chronic stresses (such as illness, lack of social support and numerous “daily hassles”) are also linked to depression.
Alcohol — Depression and alcoholism is often seen in the same patients at the same time. Alcohol is a depressant drug and its presence in a depressed person has serious implications on treatment outcome.
Residence — Depression seems to be higher in urban residents than in rural residents. In fact, one study found that depression was twice as common among city dwellers than among those who lived in rural settings.
Marital Status — Depression is highest among divorced, separated, or co-habitating persons. It is lowest among single and married persons. People living alone have higher rates of depression than those living with others do.