874521 tn?1424116797

depression and suicide inherited?

Dr..My husband has suffered depression and anxiety almost all his life I believe, his father was also a very depressed man. My husband attempted suicide 21 yrs ago and now lives with a brain injury. His younger bother did commit suicide in March. And at least one of their 3 sisters have attempted.
Question my children are now 41 and 38...my 38 yr old son suffers from a mild form of BP.he does abuse alcohol and is a former cocaine addict he has been clean for over a year, but still drinks he is. ok mentally when he stays on his meds...My daughter denies any depression however seems to need alcohol to get through each day.
Its obvious that depression runs in their fathers family....
what I need to know is suicide also inherited along with the depression??
I am very worried abt my children, they both have alot of trouble with relationships... both have divorced and broken up with many relationships..and need to self medicate daily.
please help
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874521 tn?1424116797
I was trying to post these questions on the EXPERT FORUM....and how did it end up here and how do I get a doctors opinion on this??
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Avatar universal
Go back to the expert forum 'mental health' there is a Doctor there.

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874521 tn?1424116797
hi and thanks for the repy
thats where I started...on the ask a doctor column
than I clicked POST A QUESTION....that led me to MEDICAL COMMUNITY list where I clicked on POST and my question ended up on this forum, sorry but I am confused just how to get a doctor to answer this question?
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Avatar universal
Hi Therese,

Clearly there is a history in your husband's siblings. Yiou haven't mentioned his parents etc so there is no way to answer your question as related to him and his family. You haven't given sufficient information.

You say it is clear that depression runs in your husband's family so I hope you are looking at the wider picture of their parents etc as well. You see there are actually no proven studies which support the genetic theory. That is inherited depression. Not conclusive at all.

There is one study or series of studies known as the "twins study" that estimate about 33% have depression from birth and the rest attain it after birth. That was a study comparing identical twins over time.

What does confuse the issue etc though is that children who live and are raised in an environment where depression is evident tend to learn those same patterns of behaviour and approach to life. It is inevitable that should occur as we learn most of our behaviour in the ages up to about 5, when parents are dominant and possibly our only source of input.

If they act depressed and are always negative etc then we, as children, are likely to develop those same patterns. Do you follow? It's like brain washing really. If all you see and hear is negative then you will think it's normal and adopt that stance too.

Nevertheless such depression is environmental and not genetic. Same result, different cause.

As to suicide being hereditary, absolutely not. It is simply one thought amongst many we have when depressed and it is a matter of life corcumstances if we let that thought dominate and accede to it as if it were orders or the like.

Alcohol is the world's most widely used drug so it's use is considered normal and does not indicate anything other than childhood learning also. I was a big drinker and had a great time for decades. Eventually stopped as I became violent.

The thing is that alcohol, whole a depressant, is also actually the most common form of self medication. I used it thus knowingly for a long time but many don't understand they are doing that.  The trouble is it seems to work, and it does, short term. You have to keep it up of course else you'll see your real life and the crash can be bad.

In summary? Suicide is not hereditary. Depression may be in about 1/3rd of cases but it is not inevitable if your parents had it.

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Avatar universal
Looks like we're sailing in the same boat...i have just noticed the patterns....my fathers father was depressed and an alcoholic....6 of my fathers 8 siblings are depressed and suicidal and most of them turn to alcohol....their behaviour tends to be progressively antisocial with age
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874521 tn?1424116797
thx I understand what u mean abt depression being inherited but not necessarily suicide.
I did mention my husbands father being very depressed,and extremely antisocial don't know of husbands grandparents? But as I said of my husbands siblings 6 out of 8 are also depressed, 3 seriously....now my son has been dx'd with BP and severe anxiety, he has a terrible time with this and sticking to his meds therefore I worry alot abt him, he has admitted thinking of suicide at times but has been able to overcome these thoughts 'so far'
thx also to jbhite for your input.
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