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Depression 101: Who Can Have Depression?

Depression, believe it or not, lcffects many people worldwide on a regular basis; roughly 350,000,000 people around the world are affected by some form of depression. Despite depression being shockingly common, many people assume that it’s a mental health condition that could never affect themselves or those close to them. However, it’s important to understand how people around you might be affected by depression on a day-to-day basis so you can better help those in your life who may be suffering.

Gender Split

While people of all genders experience depression and other mental health issues, a person’s gender can occasionally influence the conditions that would allow depression to develop. About 20 percent of women experience some form of depression during menopause. However, this does not mean that men do not also experience depression.

Biological Conditions

While it’s difficult to say for sure still whether there’s a definite genetic connection, several studies have shown that there may be a biological component to the development of depression. If your parents or siblings have developed chronic depression, there’s a chance you might also be more likely to develop depression under the right circumstances. However, it’s not a guarantee that you will or won’t.

Additionally, various structural and chemical imbalances within the brain can be linked to the development of depression. This is why many anti-depressant medications target the development of neurotransmitters; sometimes, depression can be fueled by a lack of certain chemicals in the brain. Depression is not linked to a single structural issue and can be affected by a wide variety of medical situations.

External Factors

Though certain conditions may make you more likely to develop depression, whether you do or don’t is largely dependent on your environment and experiences. Those who experience some degree of trauma or grief are more likely to develop depression than those who don’t. Stressful life events can exacerbate pre-existing tendencies toward the condition, making it more likely that a trauma response will manifest as depression.

Additionally, other external factors can contribute to depression, either by worsening an existing circumstance or creating conditions where depression can develop. This includes drug and alcohol use, other illnesses, and more. Approximately 949 million gallons of wine were consumed in the U.S. in 2016 alone. However, it is still possible that depression can develop without a specific catalyst; those who are going through depression without having experienced any of these things can still be depressed.

Without proper medical training, it can be difficult to know who is dealing with depression in your daily life. Make sure to keep an open mind when someone you know is dealing with a mental health issue, and offer support where you can.