When dealing with the onset of depression, or with depression as a long time illness, there are many factors to consider when attempting to ascertain the root of this pernicious malady. Chief among these is the consideration: is depression genetic? Is it a condition which one could have inherited from one’s parents, or even one’s grandparents? There is much evidence to show that the condition of depression, whether mild or chronic, is indeed genetic. This evidence should be kept in mind when one is attempting to discover if one is indeed suffering from depression, or when a medical health expert is considering their diagnosis of a patient who seems to exhibit all of the tell tale signs of such an illness.
As exhaustive scientific and medical research studies have confirmed, depression does, indeed, seem to be a genetically inheritable condition. Direct relatives of patients who suffer from depression have been discovered to possess twice or three times the probability of suffering from this disorder at some time in their lives. Patients with major depressive disorder are likelier than most to have parents or grandparents who suffered from this same degree of depression. Indeed, children of parents who suffered from depression in whatever degree, whether mild or severe, have been conclusively proven to be twice as susceptible to outbreaks of depression than children for whom no history of depression has been shown to exist in their family.
Depression Runs In Families
Studies which focus on the occurrence of chronic depression issues in twins have also proven the existence of a genetic link in those who suffer from depression. Pairs of non identical twins were proven to possess the capability of developing symptoms of a major depressive disorder at a
Is Depression Genetic?
rate of about 20%. Identical twins were shown to possess this very same capability at a rate of nearly 50%. The fact that twins of either variety, identical or non identical, possess the capability of developing such a major depressive disorder simultaneously, or one not long after the other, proves that there is an ascertainable genetic inheritance at work in these instances.
However, so far, these leading scientific and medical research studies have failed to identify what the specific triggers of such depressive outbreaks might be. They have not as yet been able to specifically and conclusively identify which precise genes are at fault in malfunctioning to the point where depression develops in an individual. The best conclusion that can be gathered and arrived at from the evidence presented thus far seems to point to the probability that depression, especially in its chronic variety, is a complex issue involving the faulty interaction of multiple genes. There is also the distinct possibility that depression is inherited through a multiplicity of factors, none of which have been successfully pinpointed as yet.
Recent studies have discovered that genetic inheritance seems to play a much larger role in women developing depressive disorders than in men. It has not yet been discovered why this is the case. Scientific researchers conducted a study which compared the life styles and medical case histories of identical twins who were raised apart from each other. When these separate case studies were compiled and duly compared and contrasted, it was discovered that genetic factors were the suspected culprit in some 40% of depressive disorder diagnoses in female twins. By contrast, the same studies, when conducted upon male twins who had likewise been raised apart from each other, yielded evidence showing that genetic factors accounted for somewhat less than 30% of depressive disorder diagnoses.
One aspect of depression which is often inherited is the propensity, especially in men, toward behavior which is deliberately (whether consciously or otherwise) self destructive or, in its worst manifestations, even suicidal. As noted above, this unfortunate characteristic of a major depressive disorder is more prevalent in males than in females. While it is still not known which precise genetic combinations breed in a man this debilitating character defect, the effects brought upon one’s family and in society in general are well known. Thousands of suicides occur each year which can be, after the fact, definitely traced back to the presence of such a major depressive disorder in the person who ended their life, either alone or in a tragic murder-suicide combination. Thus, the presence of such a genetically inherited depressive disorder is not merely a matter of one’s own mental health, but of the possibility of tragic mayhem which a person suffering from this condition could bring upon others, or upon society as a whole.
While women are less likely to suffer from major depressive disorder than men, they are still quite susceptible to the debilitating effects of such a condition. Women in the throes of such a disorder may be less likely to murder or commit suicide than men in the same condition, but it is not unheard of. If you are living in the presence of a loved one or even a neighbor whom you suspect may be prone to such disorders, it is wise to consult a physician or other knowledgeable authorities, in order to avoid being swept up in the tragic course of the final stages of such a potentially deadly illness. Depression, in whatever form, is no laughing matter, but an individual who is suffering the final stages of a major depressive disorder, is a person who should be carefully watched and studiously avoided. Indeed, if they are unable or unwilling to regulate their own conduct, there is no telling what they may be capable of.
In conclusion, it is a proven scientific and medical fact that the question, “Is depression genetic?”, can be resoundingly answered in the affirmative. If you or someone you know has a history of depressive episodes, you should consult a medical or mental health professional, in order to learn what possible steps you should take in order to stave off the development of such a disorder in your own case. Depression, in whatever form, is a verifiable medical illness, and it is always better to be safe now than sorry later!