5 Risk Factors that Can Lead to Depression

Depression isn't only caused by traumatic events. Here are some daily habits you might not know about that can affect the development of depression.
5 Risk Factors that Can Lead to Depression

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Do you know the risk factors that can lead to depression?

Depression is classified as a mood disorder. Those who are depressed have deep feelings of sadness, in addition to irritability, loss of interest in life, and changes in behavior.

The origin of this condition can be biological or based on circumstances. Experts say that depression is often caused by changes in brain chemistry, whether due to hormonal imbalances, environmental factors, or the effects of certain events or situations.

However, depression can also come from certain poor habits.

Risk Factors that Can Lead to Depression

It’s important to keep in mind that not all periods of severe sadness are depression. A person can go through sad and traumatic events without experiencing symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed with depression.

Medical professionals identify this disorder as a serious medical condition, as it can have fatal consequences if not properly treated.

A person with depression’s quality of life is drastically reduced and they may reach the point where they feel unable to complete their daily activities. Sometimes, depression can even lead to the development of other health problems.

Depression is a very complex disorder. For that reason, there’s no single cause explains the development of this disease. In fact, researchers have identified dozens of factors that can lead to depression.

The most worrying thing is that we tend to overlook many of these things since their part of our lifestyle.

Find out what these risk factors are in this article.

You might like: 6 Remedies to Treat Depression Naturally

1. A poor diet may lead to depression.

Depressed woman with water and food: factors that affect depression

Eating junk food has been associated with countless health problems, including higher susceptibility to stress and depression.

Poor nutrition is very much related to mental health problems, including depression. While it’s easy to ignore the need to eat well, a bad diet can cause changes in your nervous system and brain chemistry.

For example, frequent consumption of fat and junk food is associated with a greater risk of depression and stress. Although junk food can give you temporary pleasure, it can also lead to depression due to changes in hormonal activity.

Therefore, try to eat a healthy diet rich in sources of omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

2. Not getting enough sleep could cause depression.

If you want to have a good quality of life, you’ll ideally need to sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day without interruptions.

During this period, the body carries out a series of processes that it cannot do at other times of the day. Therefore, if you experience interruptions in your sleep or have trouble falling asleep, you may experience several negative effects.

It’s important to note that insomnia and other sleep disorders are closely linked to depression. In fact, some studies suggest that people who do not sleep well have up to 10 times more risk of experiencing depression compared to those who sleep properly.

3. Using social networks too much can lead to depression.

Social networks can lead to depression

Recent studies have shown a correlation between overusing social networks and depressive behaviors.

In recent years, several studies have been done regarding the use of social networks and mental health disorders.

A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology concluded that the use of social networks may play a role in negative emotions such as depression and feelings of loneliness. Factors such as constant social comparison or bullying can explain these negative effects.

Although using social networks in moderation doesn’t usually have a big impact, staying on these platforms for extended periods can be negative. Therefore, the general recommendation is to set limits or reduce your usage.

4. Drinking too much alcohol can cause depression.

Abuse of alcoholic beverages can cause alterations in brain activity, causing or worsening episodes of depression.

Alcoholics cannot usually fulfill their work and family obligations, which contributes to the negative effects. The most worrying thing is that when someone suffers from both alcoholism and depression, quitting the addiction becomes even more difficult.

Therefore, those who suffer from depression and abuse alcohol require constant professional and family support. Also, the sufferer should attend various kinds of therapy.

5. A toxic work environment can lead to depression.

Stressed woman at work

Your work environment has significant power over your mood and therefore can negatively affect your mental health.

Many patients who suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression also deal with tense or toxic work environments.

What does that mean?

This may involve anything from harassment, overworked employees, low pay, and unhealthy relationships with coworkers or bosses. All these factors can lead to depression since they contribute to psychological disruption. Excess stress increases the production of cortisol and other hormones.

You can help avoid this by trying some simple strategies.

For example, take breaks to rest, avoid overworking yourself, and improve your workplace with relaxing music and aromatherapy.

Take care of your health

Do you relate to any of these five risk factors that can lead to depression?

If the answer is yes, start taking steps to try and change your lifestyle so you can prevent negative consequences.

Don’t forget that depression is a serious illness that requires professional treatment. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, seek professional help immediately.

Remember, depression is treatable, but not always preventable. In any case, try to keep these risk factors in mind to reduce your risk.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Tsuno, N., Besset, A., & Ritchie, K. (2005). Sleep and depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.v66n1008
  • Benca, R. M., & Peterson, M. J. (2008). Insomnia and depression. Sleep Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1389-9457(08)70010-8
  • Woods, H. C., & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.05.008
  • Hunt, M. G., Marx, R., Lipson, C., & Young, J. (2018). No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751
  • Taylor, D. J., Lichstein, K. L., Durrence, H. H., Reidel, B. W., & Bush, A. J. (2005). Epidemiology of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Sleep. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/28.11.1457
  • Boden, J. M., & Fergusson, D. M. (2011). Alcohol and depression. Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03351.x
  • Bonde, J. P. E. (2008). Psychosocial factors at work and risk of depression: A systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1136/oem.2007.038430
  • Health and Safety Executive. (2018). Work related stress, anxiety and depression statistics in Great Britain, 2018. In Health and Safety Executive. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201205106
  • Li, Y., Lv, M. R., Wei, Y. J., Sun, L., Zhang, J. X., Zhang, H. G., & Li, B. (2017). Dietary patterns and depression risk: a meta-analysis. Psychiatry research, 253, 373-382.
  • Riemann, D., & Voderholzer, U. (2003). Primary insomnia: a risk factor to develop depression?. Journal of affective disorders, 76(1-3), 255-259.
  • Thase, M. E., Salloum, I. M., & Cornelius, J. D. (2001). Comorbid alcoholism and depression: treatment issues. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
  • Evolahti, A., Hultcrantz, M., & Collins, A. (2006). Women’s work stress and cortisol levels: a longitudinal study of the association between the psychosocial work environment and serum cortisol. Journal of psychosomatic research, 61(5), 645-652.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.