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Six factors can increase your risk

Six factors can increase your risk

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It’s not just genetic disposition that can lead to depression. There are also many other risk factors for psychological suffering.

People of all ages can develop depression, from childhood to old age. Every year about five million people in Germany alone suffer from mental illness. There are not only differences in symptoms between men and women: in youth, depression is marked, for example, by decreased school performance or social withdrawal. On the other hand, adults often suffer from what is known as high-functioning depression. Those affected continue to “deal” with the outside world, but experience depressive moods despite their usually high functioning. Classic depression is usually caused by certain risk factors.

Depression: Six risk factors that promote the disease

Symptoms of depression differ between men and women. However, the risk factors are usually the same. © Artman Witt/Imago
  • The causes of depression are not yet fully understood, but various factors increase the risk of developing the disease.
  • According to the ICD-10 (World Health Organization’s Medical Classification List), typical symptoms of depression include lethargy, fatigue, and loss of joy and interests. A depressed mood lasting for two weeks can indicate the presence of an illness.

    Depression cannot be attributed solely to stress at work, poor lifestyle choices, or strokes of fate, as the development of the disease is much more complex.

  • In addition to age-specific triggers and traumas, genetic, biological, and psychosocial factors play a role.
  • Six risk factors for depression are: genetic predisposition, physical diseases, hormonal disorders, impaired brain metabolism, medications, attitude to life and stress.
  • Genetic predisposition increases the risk of developing depression if other family members already have the disease.
  • Physical diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease can increase the risk of depression.
  • A metabolic disorder in the brain combined with low levels of norepinephrine and serotonin can contribute to the development of depression.
  • Taking certain medications, such as cortisone, hormonal contraceptives, and neurological medications, can promote depression.
  • Stress, both from negative and positive life events, as well as vulnerability from traumatic childhood experiences, can increase the risk of developing depression.
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This article only contains general information about the health topic in question and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. It does not, in any way, replace a visit to a doctor. Unfortunately, our editorial team cannot answer individual questions about medical conditions.

This article was created using automated assistance and was carefully reviewed by editor Judith Brown before publication.