Depression and the risk factor
The biggest risk factor of all for depression is loss. It may take the form of bereavement, divorce, moving house or the loss of a job. Stress of any sort is a well-recognized trigger for depression.
If a genetic disposition to depression does exist, it is clearly a risk factor. Anyone has a one in five (20 percent) chance of suffering with depression. The risk of both unipolar and bipolar disorder increases if you have a close relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who suffers with depression.
The winter risk
Sufferers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are clearly at risk with the onset of autumn and winter and the decreasing levels of natural light. You can lower this risk by using a special light box every morning from the autumn onwards. This device gives out bright light at a particular wavelength and not only cures the depression of most SAD sufferers, but is also an effective method of preventing a yearly recurrence, once an initial diagnosis has been made.
Your Stress Rating
The most commonly used rating for stress is that composed by Holmes and Rahe in 1967. Access your stress rating by ticking the events you have experienced in the last year, then add together the figures for each life event:
Less than 150: You have no more than the average risk of illness (30 percent).
150 – 299: You have a 50 percent probability of developing an illness.
Over 300: You have an 80 percent chance of developing an illness.
If you have suffered with or have a predisposition for depression, the illness that you develop may prove to be depression.
Stress Rating Chart
Key Facts: Recognize the risk at stressful times and, if necessary, take pre-emptive action. Don’t keep on piling stress upon stress; try to stagger changes.