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Why Are Some People More Prone to Depression than Others

Why Are Some People More Prone to Depression than Others

Why Are Some People More Prone to Depression than Others

What could be the reason for some people to be more prone to depression than others? This has been a difficult question for mental health professionals and researchers.

Though researchers have no concrete answer as to why in a group of people going through the same circumstances, some are more likely to get depression than others, there is a probability that a single factor does not cause it. This has led researchers to study various factors, including physical and chemical differences in the brain and social and environmental factors.

The severity of depression makes it difficult to diagnose and treat—knowing and understanding what makes one more prone to depression than another is the most important step in preventing and treating the condition to avoid further damage.

Having a clear understanding of why some are more prone to depression than others is a huge step for researchers to predict who will experience depression and its intensity.

What Causes Depression?

More than 300 million individuals across the world live with depression. This is according to the World Health Organization. Though a lot of people experience depression, the causes differ from one person to another.

There are factors that you cannot avoid, such as genetics. However, contributing factors such as diet can be controlled. Though making some lifestyle changes does not make you immune to depression, it is always wise to reduce the risks.

Whether the contributing factors are controllable or not, it’s for your benefit to know the factors that can cause depression. Fortunately, having one or more factors that may contribute to developing depression does not mean you will develop the condition.

Who Develops Depression?

No one is immune to depression. It can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, gender identity, race, and age. According to a 2017 National Institute of Mental Health report, about 17.3 million people in the U.S. had depression. In 2018, about 1.9 million children of age between 3 and 17 had been diagnosed with depression. The CDC made this report.

Reasons Why Some People Are More Prone To Depression than Others

Biological Factors

The following are some of the biological factors that can lead some people to develop depression.


Genetics are believed to play a role in developing depression. For instance, individuals who have a depression history in their families are most likely to develop depression.

However, it’s not a must for you to get depression simply because some of your family members were diagnosed with the same.

Brain Chemistry

Although there are no studies to prove the relation between brain chemistry and depression, some theories have stated some neurotransmitters’ connections can cause depression. Depression can also slow down brain activity and vice versa.


Hormonal imbalance can also cause depression. For example, during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, people are likely to develop depression. 1 in 9 women in the U.S. experience postpartum depression, with individuals with thyroid disease showing symptoms related to depression than those with low functioning thyroid.

Chronic Pain and Prolonged Illness

People with prolonged illness and chronic pain are most likely to develop depression due to more biochemical changes in their bodies. Having said that, people with type 2 diabetes, migraines, or sclerosis are most prone to depression. Depression in individuals with chronic pain is related to reduced functioning, prolonged pain, and quality of life.

People with mental challenges are also more likely to be depressed. Hence apart from moral support, a mental health practitioner is required when dealing with such cases.

Environmental Factors that Could Make You More Prone to Depression

The following are environmental factors that contribute to depression.

Abuse and Trauma

A child who experiences abuse and trauma is likely to develop depression in adulthood.  Experiencing the three types of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), abuse, neglect, and house dysfunction put one at even greater risk of developing depression.


Around 64% of adult Americans develop depression due to poverty. However, even those whose income is above the poverty level suffer from depression due to low quality of life.

Environmental exposures

Some individuals do not like environmental changes such as adverse weather conditions. These people are likely to develop seasonal affective disorder twice a year. This can lead to depression if not taken care of in time.

Social Factors that Could Cause Depression

These are social factors that can lead to depression.

Conflict and Stress

Divorce, job loss, getting married, and conflicted relationships can all lead to stress. When stress strikes, the Cortisol level increases, alleviating pain and chronic illness that can cause depression. A stressful working environment can cause depression due to working in fear of the unknown. Conflicts in colleges and schools, such as bullying, can also lead to depression.

Social Media

Social media addiction is the major cause of depression in people of all ages, especially young adults. Bullying and harassment on social media have also contributed to most social medial users getting depression. Lack of more fans has also contributed to depression in some people.


Unless a person grieving accepts the loss, there are higher chances of developing depression due to excessive grief. Prolonged grieving can also cause PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).


Procrastination, low self-esteem, neuroticism are among the personalities that can lead to depression and other mental health challenges such as emotional eating, stress, and anxiety.

Lifestyle Factors that Could Make You Prone to Depression

The following are some lifestyle factors that can make one more prone to depression.

Substance Use

Most people seek refuge in alcohol and other substances as a self-healing method. However, when grieving, one can lose themselves in alcohol and become addicts. Addiction later transforms into depression.


Some medications such as beta-blockers, statins, and Accutane can lead to the development of symptoms related to depression. Medication prescribed for sleeping and other mental challenges can also contribute to the worsening of depression symptoms.

As earlier said, different factors can make one more prone to depression. However, having one or more factors does not mean that you will develop the condition.

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Danielle Aubin (she/her), Online Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, Roseville, CA
Building You Counselling, Virtual Counselling & Therapeutic Services

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