Could depression be inherited, like green eyes or curly hair? Or is depression something that develops because of environmental or other factors? Well, the answer appears to be “Yes” to both questions. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that genetics play a part in the possibility that someone will become clinically depressed, but is not the only factor.
Can This Knowledge be Helpful?
Genetics research reveals is that some people are more likely to develop certain illnesses than other people, including clinical depression. If someone has close family members who become clinically depressed, they need to realize that they could also develop this problem. This does not mean that they definitely will become depressed, just that they could.
Genetic Research and Twins
Researchers love to study identical twins because identical twins are the only people in the world who share an identical genetic makeup. Everyone else is entirely unique. Identical twins offer researchers the opportunity to study whether a certain problem is caused entirely by genetics or if environmental factors (family life, friends, accidents, job, exposure to chemicals – any outside factors that could affect someone) were most influential.
* If a family member developed severe depression, others in the family are up to three times more likely to also become clinically depressed.
* When identical twins are raised together and one twin becomes severely depressed, there is an excellent likelihood (76%) that the other twin will also become depressed.
* It would be easy to believe that since the twins were living in the same situation (an environmental factor), that would explain the fact that they both became depressed. However, it twins had been raised in different families, there is a 67% chance that both twins would still develop depression. Genetics are having an influence, it’s not only environmental factors at work.
* Fraternal twins only share only 50% of the same genetic makeup and may not look alike. If one fraternal twin becomes depressed, the other twin only has a 19% chance of also becoming depressed. This is higher than the rate for the general public, also pointing towards a genetic influence in clinical depression.
Anyone can become clinically depressed, but some people are more vulnerable to depression than others. Seeking early treatment from mental health services in Whittier can be very helpful. Don’t struggle alone. Find more information here and call for an appointment at PAX Therapy and Family Services in Whittier.
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