While many factors can contribute to mental health issues, components like your genetics or lifestyle alone may make you a member of a high-risk group. People with a family history of mental illness seem to be particularly susceptible to forms of depression. Your employment status, geographical location, and even gender may also play a role in your mental state, but there is no sure fire way to detect exactly who will be stricken with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or major depression.
Where You Live Can Have An Affect On SAD
Some have theorized that colder temperatures and reduced sunlight in extreme Northern or Southern areas of the globe can increase the incidence of seasonal affective disorder. The farther you live from the equator, the more likely you are to suffer from SAD. SAD sufferers are often successfully treated with light therapy, and while a direct link between light exposure and brain chemistry is difficult to quantify, a high incidence of SAD in ill-lit climates suggests a connection.
Women And Men Suffer From Depression Differently
Depression is more common among women than men, particularly because of the biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors common in many women. Because hormones directly affect brain chemicals that control emotions and mood, women are particularly vulnerable to depression, especially after giving birth and before menstruation.
Men, of course, are not immune to clinical depression symptoms. They just have different ways of coping. Men are more likely to acknowledge experiencing fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in activities and sleep disturbances, while women are more likely to express the feelings of sadness, worthlessness and excessive guilt that often coincide with depression.
Depression Can Affect People Of All Ages
Seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression have no age requirement.
The elderly have long been thought to have higher rates of depression, but research has also shown that many seniors are satisfied with their lives. However, depression can often be overlooked in older adults, who may tend to be more guarded about their symptoms.
Children can also suffer from mental health problems. Depression is most common among young people during times of great personal change, as children deal with their emerging identities, growing sexuality and increased responsibilities.
What’s the difference between clinical depression and SAD? The two disorders differ in many ways, but they both require equal attention when it comes to a successful diagnosis and treatment.