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Top Risk Factors Associated With Depression

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Therapy Blog for Counseling in Sacramento - Relationship Therapy Center

Top Risk Factors Associated With Depression

Nancy Ryan

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Millions of people have depression. Depression is a significant contributor to disability and can lead to suicide if left untreated. Depression is different than the usual ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. It is a serious health condition that can affect a person's relationships, work and health. Fortunately, Roseville counseling can help you overcome depression. (1)

Depression is not just a case of the blues. It isn't something that you merely overcome with sheer willpower. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a loss of interest in usual activities and persistent feelings of sadness. This mental disorder affects how a person thinks, behaves and feels. People with depression may have difficulty doing normal day-to-day activities. They might also have persistent feelings of guilt and hopelessness and thoughts of suicide.

Anyone can get depression. No one is immune. All ages, races and genders are affected by this serious mental disorder. However, experts have discovered that specific factors may increase the likelihood of developing depression. (2) Knowing these risk factors can help you get treatment sooner.

Gender

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. Health experts believe that hormones play a role in the gender gap in depression rates. It is hypothesized that changes in progesterone, estrogen and other hormones that take place during a woman's menstrual cycle cause disruptions in the function of brain chemicals that control mood. Although hormones are not entirely responsible for the gender gap in depression. Cultural stressors and life circumstances may play a role too. Women are more likely than men to live in poverty.  They are also more likely to work outside the home and be responsible for the majority of housework at home too. These stressors could contribute to increased rates of depression in women. (3)

Substance Abuse

There is a strong connection between substance abuse disorders and depression. These two disorders often go hand-in-hand. What is less clear is whether depression causes substance abuse or substance abuse causes depression. (4) It could be that drugs and alcohol cause changes in the brain that lead to depression or that people with depression self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Regardless of the cause, substance abuse is a risk factor for depression.

Genetics

Depression does run in families. Twin studies suggest that there is probably a genetic component to depression. When one twin has depression, there is a 70 percent chance that the other twin will develop depression as well at some point in their lives. (5)

Stressful Events

Stressful life events, like loss and trauma, may contribute to depression. The hormone cortisol is released during periods of stress.  Scientists hypothesize that high levels of this hormone affect the neurotransmitters that regulate mood, thus triggering depression. (6)  

How To Get Help For Depression

The signs of clinical depression include:

  • Frequent sadness, irritability or agitation

  • Social isolation and withdrawal

  • Loss of appetite or changes in appetite

  • Insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Feelings of guilt or hopelessness  

  • Problems in relationships

  • Physical problems for which there is no medical cause

  • Self-harming behaviors

  • Frequent thoughts of death

  • Thoughts of suicide

If you have the above symptoms of depression, it is essential to get help — especially if you have one or more risk factors for depression. Relationship therapy can help you cope with the stressors related to depression like marital problems. Contact us today for Roseville counseling.

References:

  1. World Health Organization

  2. Hölzel, Lars et al. Risk factors for chronic depression — A systematic review.
    Journal of Affective Disorders , Volume 129 , Issue 1 , 1 - 13.

  3. Mayo Clinic

  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  5. American Psychiatric Association

Dienes, K. A., Hazel, N. A., & Hammen, C. L. (2013). Cortisol Secretion in Depressed and At-Risk Adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(6), 927–940.

 Cathy Bruno, LMFT

Cathy Bruno, LMFT

Cathy Bruno, LMFT works with individuals and couples experiencing Grief/Loss, Trauma/PTSD, Sexual Trauma, Spiritual/Existential issues, Women’s Issues, Major Life Transitions, Personal Growth and Development, Depression & Anxiety.