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Is depression genetic
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Is depression genetic

I was wondering if depression was genetic? I have had depression since 1978. But only in the past 3 years have I been seeing a therapist and taking medication. I know that my aunt on my dads side had issues with nervous breakdowns. Just wondering if that is the reason for my depression.
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Avatar f tn
Depression does seem to run in families, and the predisposition for it may have been passed down from your aunt.  Your therapist should be able to tell you more about this, and also determine exactly what is causing your depression, such as a chemical imbalance or other factors.  It sounds like you're on the right track to a happier life.  Take care....
Avatar m tn
Nobody knows.
Avatar m tn
Hi Debann,

To Paxiled, you're sort of on the right track in that there are no definitive studies which prove the genetic link. None. The closest was the "Twins" studies done some years back which focused on depression in identical twins, amongst many other things. What they found indicates that possibly 1/3rd of depressive cases may be genetic. Note the words "may be". Meaning, not proven.

Which means, of course, that 2/3rds are not and are the result of reaction to events and childhood training. These events can be at any stage of one's life or be cumulative. IE, a number of events impact until a person breaks down and succumbs to depression.

Mammo, you have fallen for the "three card trick" in repeating that depression "does seem to run in families". I have advised you previously that this does not indicate a genetic link at all.

What it does indicate is that a depressed parent or parents are likely to teach a young child depressive behaviour and interaction with people and society. This depression is not genetic at all. It is reactive, known today as environmental in that it is caused by things within one's environment and not within one's genes.

It is time to stop repeating this old wives tale and stick to scientifiacally proven facts as it is untrue and has no basis in fact. It is misleading and frightens people who have no reason to be afraid simply because a relative suffered some mental issues.

If you meant children living wirh depressed family have depression running in their family then I'd agree with you. If you said such children are more likely to develop depression I'd agree with you. But it is still not genetic until proven so.

I would also ask that you re examine your advice about "chemical imbalances" as the information you give out here is out dated and, frankly, innaccurate. Essentially there are no depressions that do not have chemical imbalances and they are treated in exactly the same way as any depression. The brain is altered by the process of developing depression. This causes the chemical imbalance.

If there were depressions that did not have chemical imbalances why would meds be prescribed? They have one purpose generally, to change the brain chemistry back to what is called normal. Why do that if there is no imbalance? And I should add that therapy too is highly capable of changing this imbalance over time and is the best way to do so permanently.

If a depression is caught early enough and treated early enough the imbalance may not develop as it might have. Please check this out and stick to the facts.

To Debann,

There is no reason at all to think your aunts issues many years ago may be related in any way to your own. It's possible but unless both your parents, or one, at least suffered depression the likelihood is minimal. Can't exclude it but the connection is tenous at best.

I say ignore your aunts problems and focus on your own. Genetic or not it can still be treated and improved. Neglecting it since 1978 is more the problem than your aunts genes but that just means you were like me. We ignored it for so long and dealt with it in other, ultimately unsuccesful ways.

You have my best wishes but just forget the genetic possibility. Look ahead and deal with your therapist and today, not years ago and someone else.
874521 tn?1424120397
You are right in the sense that there has been no documented genetic studies except the one you mentioned on 'twins'

However I will give out some of my husbands MALE family tree.....that his P-doc has been following...(he is a very renown Psychiatrist in Western Canada for his BP studies)

My husbands GRANDFATHER born in late 1800's suffered from what was called 'melancholia'  
He had 3 sons and 2 suffered with what was called 'nerves' husbands FATHER (being one of the sons) hospitalized a few times that we know of and treated with a variety of medications over a period of at least 30 years.
this FATHER had 5 sons(1 being my husband)...4 of his 5 sons suffer deep depression 3 dx'd now with BP...1 successful suicide and others with attempts(including my husbands)
Also all 3 of the FEMALES dx'd with depression 1 with BP.
Therefore in my husbands immediate family 7 out of  8 have depression or BP
Our son dx'd with BP and 3 of his 5 MALE cousins wtih depression.

So in this one family there certainly appears to be a genetic link in the MALES...and NOT skipping any generations.
My son and his cousins have now 2 male children but the oldest being only 10 there is at this point no signs of depression.
Between the depressions the suicides and the attempted suicides this disease has devastated this family.

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