Is Depression a Genetic Condition?

Much is made of a person's genetic predisposition to depression. What truth is there to the hereditary nature of depression, and how can you treat it?

Is Depression a Genetic Condition?

Everyone goes through emotional ups and downs. Depression is characterised by a prolonged feeling of sadness, misery, worthlessness, indifference, hopelessness, and an inability to function productively in society. The severity of the depression and the length of time the mental health condition exists are paramount.

If you have been feeling down in the doldrums for at least two weeks or more, depression has likely found you. In the event that the depression is so severe, it's important to get evaluated by a trained professional since you may be suffering from major depressive disorder. If so, various treatment options are available to you, including therapeutics, mental health counseling, and TMS.

What are the underlying causes of depression?

There are varying schools of thought regarding the underlying causes of depression. Proponents of a person’s genetic predisposition to depression believe that imbalances in our neurotransmitters put us at greater risk of depression. These imbalances tend to run in families, and when the right triggers are activated, the depression kicks in.

These triggers are typically life events. You will often see people with a propensity for depression slipping into a dark place when something bad happens in their life. Many major life events can precipitate a depressive disorder. These include: the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, failing relationships, ill-health, and more.

For many years, depressed people were perceived as inferior or weak. They were deemed unable to cope with real life and shunned in the process. This only exacerbated the depression in the individuals and those caring for them. The stigma associated with depression was so bad that people generally suffered in silence. Now that depression is a recognized mental health illness with a biological component, it is no longer persona non grata in medical circles.

A correlation between depression and genetics exists, but it is not ironclad. Just because people in your family suffer from depression, doesn't mean that you will too. By the same token, if you don't suffer from depression, it doesn't mean that people in your family are immune to it. A combination of environmental and biological factors contribute towards the existence of depression in individuals. There are many conditions that are genetic like Tay-Sachs, high cholesterol, or diabetes; depression isn't one of them.

With regards to depression in families, it's typically close family relationships that are pertinent. These include siblings, parents, and grandparents. This is where there is definitely an increased risk of genetically based depressive disorders. This may place an individual at elevated risk of depression. Your childhood environment may be a factor in determining whether you are at increased risk of becoming depressed as well. The presence of other medical conditions can also place an individual at higher risk of becoming depressed.

Once a diagnosis has been made, it’s time to begin a treatment plan. SSRIs, SNRIs, mental health counseling, and Deep TMS are highly effective at rolling back depression. Once you take charge, you’ll make your life manageable once again.

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