Depression - Risk factors

Emotions such as anxiety and sadness are often considered a healthy response to the stresses of life. Whether or not such emotions progress to actual depression may be dependent on a number of risk factors, for example:[1-4]

  • Family history of depression or alcoholism. This may result from a shared family environment or a geneticRelating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. predisposition [4-6]
  • Those younger than 45 years of age tend to be more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who are older [4]
  • Past history of depression or psychiatric illness
  • Any coexistent medical illness[1]
  • The nature of treatment for any coexistent illness
  • Functional impairment
  • Other stressful issues such as housing problems, or life events such as bereavement
  • Individual coping mechanisms for life stresses, and how effective they are
  • Lack of social support
  • Female gender (depression is slightly more common among girls and women), and fluctuations in female hormoneA substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect. levels
  • Certain medications, for example propanolol, a type of medication called a beta blocker.[7]

It is most likely that a person's geneticRelating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. background interacts with their environment to mediate the risk for depression: ultimately, any of a number of factors may contribute to this risk.[8]

References

  1. Peveler R, Carson A and Rodin G. ABC of psychological medicine: Depression in medical patients. BMJ 2002; 325: 149-52.
  2. Toney SD. Identifying and managing depression in women. J Manag Care Pharm 2007; 13 (suppl S-a): S16-S22.
  3. Oladiji JO, Akinbo SRA, Aina OF. Risk factors of post-stroke depression among stroke survivors in Lagos, Nigeria. Afr J Psychiatry 2009; 12: 47-51.
  4. http://www.searo.who.int/EN/Section1174/Section1199/Section1567/Section1826_8101.htmLast accessed January 6, 2010.
  5. Pariante CM. Risk factors for development of depression and psychosis: Glucocorticoid receptors and pituitary implications for treatment with antidepressant and glucocorticoids. Ann NY Acad Sci 2009; 1179: 144-52.
  6. Caspi A, Sugden K, Moffitt TE et al. Influence of life stressRelating to injury or concern. on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT geneThe basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes.. Science 2003; 301: 386-9.
  7. Head A, Kendall MJ, Ferner R, et al. Acute effects of blockade and exercise on mood and anxiety. Br J Sports Med 1996; 30: 238-42.
  8. aan het Rot M, Mathew SJ, Charney DS. Neurobiological mechanisms in major depressive disorder. CMAJ 2009; 180: 305-13.
  9. Glucocorticoid receptors and pituitary implications for treatment with antidepressant and glucocorticoids. Ann NY Acad Sci 2009; 1179: 144-52.
  10. Caspi A, Sugden K, Moffitt TE et al. Influence of life stressRelating to injury or concern. on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT geneThe basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes.. Science 2003; 301: 386-9.
  11. Head A, Kendall MJ, Ferner R, et al. Acute effects of blockade and exercise on mood and anxiety. Br J Sports Med 1996; 30: 238-42.
  12. aan het Rot M, Mathew SJ, Charney DS. Neurobiological mechanisms in major depressive disorder. CMAJ 2009; 180: 305-13.