Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, but it can happen at any age. Twice as many women are diagnosed with depression as men, but this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment for depression.
Although the precise cause of depression isn't known, researchers have identified certain factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression, including:
- Having biological relatives with depression
- Being a woman
- Having traumatic experiences as a child
- Having family members or friends who have been depressed
- Experiencing stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one
- Having few friends or other personal relationships
- Recently having given birth (postpartum depression)
- Having been depressed previously
- Having a serious illness, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's or HIV/AIDS
- Having certain personality traits, such as having low self-esteem and being overly dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
- Abusing alcohol, nicotine or illicit drugs
- Taking certain high blood pressure medications, sleeping pills or certain other medications (Talk to your doctor before stopping any medication you think could be affecting your mood.)
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