Depression is one of the most widely diagnosed mental health conditions here in the UK. Whilst it is a treatable and manageable mental illness, there are many symptoms that can make everyday life challenging for someone with depression.
A clinical depression diagnosis can occur for any individual. Its cause and the trigger can be anything from stress to trauma and to an imbalance in the brain. There are however some commonalities across diagnoses that support possible susceptibilities to mental health issues.
Some people can become depressed for an unrecognised reason, completely out of the blue. Others can pinpoint the exact moment or certain life events which have caused a downward spiral of emotions. Depression is unpredictable and can trigger through either nature or nurture influences.
Here’s how different depression can develop and look for an individual as we consider, ‘are some people more prone to depression?’.
If you’re feeling low, experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, or believe that someone you care about is, at Action Rehab, we are here for you with support, treatment, and reassurance.
Why does depression occur?
Depression can occur for a multitude of reasons. Whilst there are some who argue that a chemical imbalance in the brain causes depression, and others who believe it is a taught response, a definite cause is yet to be found.
Mental illness is unpredictable in nature. Someone who’s happy and healthy one minute can experience a trigger or life event which may lead to depression. The stereotype of people with depression is far from the reality of what it’s like to encounter depressive symptoms.
Whilst the development phase of depression is unknown and cannot be controlled, there are some common influences that increase the likelihood of susceptibility. Here are some of those influences as we answer, ‘are some people more prone to depression?’.
What makes someone vulnerable to depression?
Vulnerabilities are common, making some people more prone to depression than others. There are a wealth of factors that can make someone vulnerable to depression and further mental illnesses.
Influential factors of depression are both internal and external. The internal are those which have naturally developed, due to existing ill-health, genetics, and injury. The external are those which have developed through lifestyle choices, upbringing, previous experiences, and taught behaviour.
Being depressed isn’t an active choice. The development phase is uncontrollable, meaning that depression as a condition can advance without any warning signs. Yet there are risk factors that can make some people more prone to depression, highlighted below.
Those who are at a higher risk of depression may display the below characteristics, may be influenced by internal factors, or may encounter symptoms due to past experiences.
Negative outlooks and thought processes
People who live each day with negative outlooks and thought processes are prone to depression. Intrusive, invasive, and damaging thoughts can normalise the lows in life.
Someone who already experiences frequent and uncontrollable low feelings will be less aware of their emotional responses, and with that will be less aware of the warning signs.
Alongside being at a higher risk of depression, such individuals will also be at risk of developing additional mental health issues.
Chronic and frequent stress can cause the brain to overstimulate and enter a constant state of fight. The increased presence of stress hormones can reduce essential neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate emotions, sleep and decision making. This disruption can slowly increase symptoms of depression.
If neurotransmitters are depleted for a prolonged period of time, the production of happy chemicals, such as dopamine will also reduce, increasing the risks of depression and further negative behaviours.
An internal influence that cannot be controlled yet is linked to depression is personality types. Some personality types are at an increased risk of depression. For example, people who are recognised as an INFJ personality type are more prone to depression than other types due to their increased susceptibility to pain. Whether that’s the pain of others or their own personal trauma, people with this type of personality will struggle to logically consider feelings and can instead experience depressive symptoms without any form of control.
Self-medication and substance abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse are heavily associated with poor mental health. People who abuse drugs or alcohol, to get high or for self-medication are prone to depression due to how such substances interact with their brains.
For example, alcohol initially increases the production of happy chemicals. Yet over time, it reduces the natural production process, making it difficult for an addict to regulate their emotions without alcohol. An addiction can easily develop through this cycle, along with depressive symptoms. An imbalance of happy chemicals can damage the brains’ structure and distort signalling around the body.
Those who regularly abuse drugs or alcohol, and those who withdraw without treatment are at risk of major depression.
If you’re wondering, ‘are some people more prone to depression?’, the answer is yes. This can be down to environmental factors. Unhealthy and toxic environments can increase the risks of low and depressive states.
Our settings are highly influential when considering our behaviours, outlooks, and feelings. Taught behaviours, conditioned emotions and toxic relationships can all increase the risk of depression.
Some people are more prone to depression than others due to genetic makeup. If someone within your immediate family is depressed or suffers from poor mental health, susceptibility to the condition will be higher for yourself.
Greater research is required within this influence, as the link may be down to taught behaviours and the acceptance of depressive symptoms. Yet some personality traits and physical vulnerabilities can be hereditary, contributing towards a depression diagnosis.
Sexual abuse, childhood trauma, neglect, unstable family arrangements, emotional abuse, and sudden losses are all forms of previous trauma that can induce depression later in life. People who have experienced such trauma and have struggled to cope through closure are at risk of depression. This won’t be the case for each individual who has experienced physical and psychological trauma. Yet those who do not heal will be at risk of poor mental health and PTSD, which can result in a major depressive disorder.
Depression is described as a feeling which reflects low, sad, and frustrating emotions. Individuals who have experienced some form of sadness, sudden shock, loss, abuse, or high stress are at greater risk of experiencing symptoms.
For example, the loss of a loved one is a common trigger for depression. Without closure and without some healthy coping strategies, an uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and isolation can flare-up.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices
Lifestyle choices can induce poor mental health. For example, someone with a poor diet, who allows for stress to take over, and who consumes heavy amounts of alcohol will be at risk of an imbalance. A continuous imbalance can increase the risks of depression. Whilst alone such choices will not fuel depression, they can impact mood and emotions, which if neglected, can pose as a risk.
Depression is a common diagnosis yet is a complicated condition. Whilst on paper the signs and symptoms of depression may seem similar, triggers and experiences do fluctuate between our clients at Action Rehab.
Treating depression is essential in order to recover, reach a sense of stability and manage symptoms. Depression cannot be cured as it is a recurrent condition. Yet it can be managed through self-help and awareness, medications, and a healthy lifestyle.
Before managing depression, it must first be treated, which will be possible by completing various talking therapies. Sessions will focus on understanding the cause of depression, and the reason for its aggravation. Coping strategies will then be shared, along with greater awareness around depression and possible relapse.
Depending on the diagnosis of depression, some people may also be prone to addiction. With that, dual diagnosis treatment will need to be worked through. In the event of drug abuse as a co-existing condition, prescription medications may be bypassed as a form of treatment. For people who do not struggle with substance abuse, prescriptions may be made for short-term relief.
Treating depression is a long-term process. As it can be triggered by uncontrollable influences, such as genetics, it will not go away. Yet learning to manage depression will be possible with professional support.
Accessing help for depression
If you are feeling depressed or believe that a loved one is struggling, we can help you at Action Rehab. By reaching out, we can listen to you, support you and offer full direction towards mental health treatment.
Depression is a non-biased condition that can develop for any individual. Yet with that, it is important to be aware of the risk factors of developing and enabling depression. For more insight into ‘are some people more prone to depression?’, reach out.