Is Depression Hereditary?

Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders that a lot of people suffer globally. Sadly, more people will keep developing these conditions.

The Stanford School of Medicine predicted that about 10% of Americans at one point during their lives will experience clinical depression. You can also read this post to find out other interesting anxiety and depression statistics.

One question that always pops up whenever these disorders are talked about is whether or not they are hereditary. Maybe your mom, dad, sister, or even uncle had it. Watching them battle with this disorder is one thing. Trying to convince yourself that you won’t be the one in their shoes some years down the road is another.

A lot of persons related to people with depression often wonder if they’d develop it too with time. The sad truth is they are not wrong to think this way. If you are related to someone with this condition, then the chances of you developing it too are 5 times higher than if you weren’t related to someone with it.

Research has been done to explore the link between depression and genes. In this article, we will further explore this topic to see if other factors are involved too.

Depression Gene

In a study carried out by a British team, one gene that seems to be predominant in several family members that have this mood disorder was isolated. Over 800 families that had recurrent depression have the chromosome 3p25-26.

Experts think that a staggering 40% of people with this disorder can find a link between it and genes. The remaining 60% is due to other factors including environmental ones.

Other Factors

If you grow up with a person that has this mood disorder, you might be more prone to it. Most times, this may not even have anything to do with the fact that you are related to them.

Simply watching how a depressed sibling and parent behave may make a child develop such behaviors too. For instance, if a child sees their parent spending days lying in bed, the child may think of this as normal behavior.

Another risk factor for this disorder is gender. According to a study, the chances of women developing hereditary depression is about 42%, whereas, for men, it’s only about 29%. Visit https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/ to read this study.

Serotonin and Depression

Researchers have also found a link between depression and serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells. It is what allows brain neurons to communicate.

Sometimes, the chemical levels might not be balanced. This imbalance can cause mood disorders as well as some other mental health issues like panic attacks and OCD. Researchers are still studying this link as they believe it could be the main key to how genes are connected to depression.

Hereditary Depression

Age might be the clue you need to figure out whether or not your family is genetically predisposed to this condition. If people in your family develop this mood disorder before they turn 20, then you most likely might develop it too.

In a lot of cases, if someone in the family develops this disorder at an early age, then the chances that it is hereditary are higher. Despite this, the condition may still be hereditary even when older members of the family develop it.

Also, your chances of inheriting this condition are higher if the family member that has the condition is a closer relative rather than a distant one. So, if your sibling or parent has this condition, the chances that you’d have it too are higher than if a distant relative has it.

What To Do If Your Family Has Hereditary Depression

If you are predisposed to inherit this condition, then rather than spending time thinking about how heritable is depression, be more proactive about it. Find out all you can about the condition so that you’d know when you need to see your doctor. This means you need to find out the symptoms of this disorder and always look out for them in yourself.

The sooner you identify and seek help for this condition, the faster you can get treatment and get better.

You also don’t have to wait to see symptoms before you discuss your concerns with your health care provider. If you are sure your family is predisposed to this disorder, then you need to let your primary health care provider know about it so that they can routinely screen you for the condition.

Tips To Help You Avoid Depression

You can avoid this condition by living a certain lifestyle and ensuring that your stress level is not above what it should be. You can also avoid this condition by doing the following:

  • Start proactive counseling: You could start seeing a therapist even before you notice any problem with your mental health. This way, you’d be able to learn skills that will help you manage things that might trigger this condition
  • Take key nutrients: Eating healthy meals can provide enough support for both the body and mind (brain). Ensure you take these key nutrients: vitamin D, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Ensure you have a healthy sleep pattern
  • Exercise regularly

Conclusion

To some degree, depression might be hereditary. However, this doesn’t mean that you are bound to develop this condition just because you are related to someone who has it. Also, you can develop it even if no one in your family has it, this is because other factors other than genes are believed to cause this disorder. Regardless of whether people in your family have this condition or not, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid developing the disorder.

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