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Is Depression Hereditary? Here's How You Can Inherit Depression

Depression can be treated effectively only if the actual root cause of the illness can be traced. It is indeed, the most critical aspect of the treatment of depression. Normally, these causes include problems concerning a painful memory or incident, stressful surroundings, or a neurological disorder in the brain. Out of all the primary causes, one concern that most people have is whether or not, depression is hereditary.

Can you inherit depression

Is Depression Hereditary

Although it is very difficult to answer it in one word, doctors have reached the conclusion that states that its symptoms may get transferred genetically. As per this theory,

"if an individual has a family member who has suffered from depression at some point in life, then for him also the likelihood of developing depressive illness increases in comparison to other people who do not have depression running in the family in any which way."

Viewing in the light of physiology

If we see physiologically, we will easily find out a connection. Since in a depressed state of mind, the sufferer’s serotonin level reduces, and/or other hormonal imbalances begin to function within the brain, it is possible that this imbalance has grown out of some genetic link or genes that must have caused such an imbalance.

However, at the same time, it is important to mention here that to date, no “depression gene” has been revealed. But on the contrary, it is probable that one may develop depression at some time when his or her immediate family member is also going through that mental stage.

Such references have been noticed mostly in the cases of bipolar disorder or manic depression. This brings to light the possibility of incidental evidence supporting a hereditary connection. But as no pragmatic data have come into existence, the consensus about the role of genes in passing on the illness of depression continues to be stated as “likely.”

Is depression biochemical, psychological, or both?

Although depression can be hereditary in nature, the way it is passed on is not how other hereditary diseases pass on to the next generation. In the case of depression, the genetic contribution depends upon environmental and lifestyle factors that can either augment or reduce the probability of budding clinical depression symptoms.

Normally, what happens is that you get the probability of developing depression due to your parent’s genetic contribution in two vital ways – biochemically and psychologically. In the latter case, depressed parents infuse an abnormal mental attitude into their children to approach life.

Biochemical contributions to hereditary depression

Just the way your genes play a very vital role in deciding your height, looks, physical appearance, and complexion, it also plays an equally important part in controlling the biochemical processes functioning inside your body. For instance, it can be explained that you can be as sensitive as your mother.

However, it is important to note down here that brain function is chemical, and biochemistry includes a hereditary component. Therefore, if you have had cases of depression in your blood-related family, then the chances of developing a depressive illness for you might be more than any other individual.

Psychological contributions to hereditary depression

A much more severe and intense genetic contribution to one’s mental state is the psychological affectation modeling to which one gets subjected while an entire period of influential years. If your parents were depressed or had any symptoms or signs of depressive illness then you would doubtlessly get affected.

Negative feelings like being gloomy, fearful, anxious, and depressed, will create a negative impact on a child’s psychology and attitude toward life. Such strong feelings and thoughts that your parents or any other family member suffered will eventually form the substrate of your cognitive construct as well.

In simple language, it can be described that if your family, or most importantly your mother and father suffer from depression, then you doubtlessly be at higher threat of developing signs of clinical depression as well.

There are some very insightful ways through which one may easily gauge if an individual is suffering or at least prone to familial depressive disorders. It begins with inner monologue observance.

You have to observe your thoughts and consistent feelings. If you find out that you tend to remain predominantly negative, terrified, anxious, apprehensive, or angry, then you may have to get yourself checked for the initial stage of depression.

Fortunately, medical science has made tremendous advancements and there are various therapies and treatments available that can re-bring elements of positivity to your thinking. Among all known therapies, guided imagery meditation audio recordings have turned out to deliver incredible results in many cases and have improved patients’ mental outlooks.

Depression is a learned behavior

The second theory (that makes depression a hereditary disorder in some sense), is supported by the fact that depression is a learned behavior. The illness can be developed slowly and gradually over time.

Now, to provide an answer to the question that whether or not, depression is hereditary one may easily mention that the state of the behavior that an individual develops as she or she grows up in some manner remain affected by their parent’s behaviors.

Hence, if our parents or other family members had suffered from depression then the impact of their behavior can be seen in us, as we grow up. It is very similar to what we generally notice in the case of offensive behavior, alcoholism, or even personality traits that children quickly learn and adapt from their parent's behavior.

Depression is a genetic disorder: A debate

The debate on whether a depressive illness is hereditary or not in nature is quite important. Since we all know that the treatment for depression turns out to be successful only if one gets to know the root cause of the depression, finding out how genes can accentuate the probability of getting depressed, is extremely vital. Medical experts continue to widen their research on depression. They have indeed made significant success in this realm, but still, a lot remains to be unfolded.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is depression solely caused by genetics?

No, depression is not solely caused by genetics. Genetics can increase the risk, but environmental factors and life experiences also contribute significantly to the development of depression.

Q2. If I have a family history of depression, am I guaranteed to get it?

A: No, having a family history of depression does not mean that you are guaranteed to get the disorder. However, it does mean that you are at an increased risk. However, remember that genetics is not the sole determinant of depression, and other factors, such as life experiences and environmental influences, also play a crucial role.

Q3. Can depression skip a generation?

No, depression does not necessarily skip a generation. It is possible for individuals to have a family history of depression without experiencing the condition themselves, but the risk of developing depression is generally higher for individuals with a family history of the disorder.

Q4. Are identical twins more likely to both have depression?

Yes, identical twins are more likely to have depression compared to non-identical twins. This suggests a significant genetic component in the development of depression.

Q5. Can depression be caused by a single gene?

Depression is a complex condition influenced by multiple genes and environmental factors. While specific genes, such as the SLC6A4 gene, have been associated with an increased risk of depression, it is unlikely that a single gene alone can cause the disorder.

Q6. Is there a genetic test for depression?

Currently, there are no genetic tests available for diagnosing depression. The development of depression involves a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors, making it challenging to pinpoint specific genes as definitive indicators of the condition.

Q7. Can lifestyle changes override genetic predisposition to depression?

While genetics can increase the risk of developing depression, lifestyle changes, and interventions can play a crucial role in managing the condition. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, seeking therapy or counseling, practicing stress management techniques, and building a strong support system can all contribute to alleviating symptoms of depression, even in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

Q8. Is it possible to prevent depression if it runs in the family?

Preventing depression entirely may not be possible, especially if there is a family history of the disorder. However, early intervention, effective treatment, and adopting healthy coping mechanisms can significantly reduce the severity and impact of depression.


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