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Reducing Your Risk of Depression

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Reducing Your Risk of Depression

It may not always be possible to prevent depression. But some people may be able to lower their risk. Some things that may help are:

Being Aware of Depression Risk

A person needs to be aware of their own risk of depression. Some things that raise the risk are:

  • Having people in the family with the same problems
  • High levels of stress
  • Major life changes such as a death, or problems with relationships or a job
  • Having been bullied as a child
  • Past sexual or physical abuse
  • Psychological issues such as:
    • Low self-esteem
    • Perfectionism
    • Sensitivity to loss or rejection
  • Lack of social support
  • Having had bouts of depression before
  • Long-term health problems
  • Heart attack
  • Long term pain
  • Hormonal changes—can happen after having a baby or with menopause
  • Anxiety
  • Medicines that can cause depression
  • Problems with alcohol or substance use disorders


  • Depressive disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/mood-disorders/depressive-disorders.
  • Depression in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/depression-in-children-and-adolescents.
  • Depression in older adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/depression-in-older-adults.
  • Depression (mild to moderate). EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: https://www.ebsco.com/products/research-databases/natural-alternative-treatments.
  • Depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.
  • Ellison CG, Flannelly KJ. Religious involvement and risk of major depression in a prospective nationwide study of African American adults. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009;197(8):568-573.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.