Risk Factor of Depression

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

Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Prison term 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Loss of job 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in family member’s health 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Addition to family 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different type of work 36
More/fewer marital arguments 35
Taking out a large mortgage or
Foreclosure on mortgage or loan 30
Change in work responsibilities 29
Son or daughter leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse begins or stops work 26
Starting or finishing school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Change of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in work hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in school 20
Change in recreational habits 19
Change in organizational
Change in social activities 18
Taking out a small mortgage or
Change in sleeping habits 16
More/fewer family gatherings 15
Change in eating habits 15
Holiday 13
Christmas 12
Minor violation of the law 11

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.