What are risk factors that increases the chances that a person will develop clinical depression?

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There are many factors that increase a person's chance of developing clinical depression. Two of the main factors are genetics and environmental factors. All forms of depression are believed to have a biological component. Just because a person has a family history of depression doesn't mean they will definitely have depression too, but it does increase their risk. Certain environmental factors can also increase a person's risk. For instance, the loss of a child or immediate family member can sometimes go beyond normal grief and into clinical depression. See the links below for more information.
tutorjim | Student

Hi there

Clinical Depression is a complicated condition, there are many risk factors involved in the development of clinical depression,  genetic pre disposition is one of many.

One of the issues that is misunderstood is the link between anxiety states and depression, in some cases, anxiety and depression are hand in glove with each other, and to seperate them into different illnesses is very difficult to do.

In my experience and practice almost all of the clients I have worked with who suffer from depression also suffer from anxiety to some extent, this is due to the nature of their symptoms, poor self esteem, poor self image and self loathing, and a constant need for reassurance.

As for the causes, poor problems solving skills , and lack of social support and acceptance , as well as poor role models within the family unit can all play a part. Depression however is more than just a medical condition, it can be a symptom of social issues like drug misuse. As mentioned previousley , alcohol misuse is closley associated to depression, but there are several theories around why this is, and again in my experience as a practitioner in both addictions and mental health practice, alcohol seems to be used as a form of self medication, a person may start off with a straight forward stress related anxiety, which they medicate throuh the use of alcohol, alcohol in the short term alleviates the problem, but the person finds that it takes more to get the same effect , and before they know it, they have an addiction, you can replace alcohol with heroin, methadone, or any similar drug.

Depression is split into two main types, Indogenous or coming from inside, this is the biological depression, that is caused by chemical changes within the brain and tends to have a genetic link, and reactive  depression, which is caused by external forces like stress, environmental changes , or poor coping mechanisms for life events like bereavement. Symptoms for both depressions are similar, and both depressions can develop into a full blown clinical presentation, although as a rule, reactive depressions is easier to treat, and can be treated without reliance on anti -depressant medication, utilising talking therapies like Cognitive behavioural Therapies, which look at changing how the client thinks, and helps them develop a more positive coping strategy.

Biological Depression is much more reliant on medication, and the efficacy of the medication is dependant on how far down the continuum of depression the person is when they seek clinical help.

Both forms of depression can be affected by the same risks , as previousley mentioned.


I have attached some good links, I have used within my practice to help with further information.