Depression Home > Depression
Who Does It Affect?
Depression can strike anyone, regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender. Researchers estimate that in the United States at least 6 million men suffer from the illness every year. This is about 7 percent of the population. Nearly twice as many women (more than 12 million women) suffer from depression each year.
(Click Depression in Men or Depression in Women for more gender-specific information related to the disease. Click Depression Statistics for more statistics.)
Depression is also not just a condition of the young or old. For example, of the 35 million Americans age 65 and older, about 2 million suffer from full-blown depression. Another 5 million suffer from less severe forms.
You can learn about depression in various age groups by visiting any of the following eMedTV articles:
Possible Causes and Risk FactorsDepression research scientists and doctors do not know the exact cause or causes of depression. They do believe that that it is frequently caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. In other words, there is no one cause of depression.
A number of factors increase a person's chances of developing it. These are known as depression risk factors. Some risk factors include:
- A family history of the condition
- Certain medications
- A history of substance abuse
- Certain medical illnesses, such as a stroke (see Stroke and Depression), heart attack, or heart disease (see Depression and Heart Disease)
- Hormonal factors (see Postpartum Depression)
(Click Risk Factors for Depression to learn more about each of these risk factors.)