Is Depression Hereditary ?

Many times I have heard people ask questions such as: “is depression hereditary”, “is depression genetic”, “is depression hereditary disease”, “is depression curable”, “is depression a disability” and so on. One thing I have noticed is that many people only know about the signs of depression and various ways of treating it. However, most people lack sound knowledge of its basis –whether it is hereditary or not. The question of whether depression is hereditary or not is what I will tackle in this article. Read on and you will get an answer that will convince you. However, I will not fail to mention other causes of depression before affirming whether it is hereditary or not.

Depression may be caused by psychological factors such as loss of a relative, failure to accomplish a set objective, loss of s job, loss of a vital and rare opportunity, divorce, suffering heartbreaks and so on. When these unpleasant occurrences happen, victims are often expected to feel depressed. However, the main problem starts when such people fail to recover long after the unpleasant events.

Undergoing stressful episodes is another very common cause of depression. Such episodes include pregnancy, menopause, puberty, suffering child abuse and so on. Experience and research has shown that depression occurs very frequently in people who have experienced the aforementioned episodes.

Now to the main question: is depression hereditary? Yes, depression is hereditary. It has been proven beyond doubt that depression is genetically transmitted from one familial generation to the next. Scientific studies show that genetically identical twins born and bred in the same environment are three times more prone to depression than their fraternal counterparts. Also, identical twins are at much higher risk of suffering depression at the same points in time than in fraternal twins. These are pointers to the fact that depression can be inherited by offspring of parents who often suffer from it. So, children born to parents who often suffer depression are also very likely to experience depression early or late in their lives.

However, the occurrence of depression is more likely to be enhanced by factors other than genetics. So, most cases of depression can be traced to a specific root cause (biological or psychological factors). The only instances when genetics may be suspected as being the root cause of a case of depression is when it cannot be linked with any of the other factors. In other words, if you are feeling depressed without experiencing any of breakup, loss of a beloved one, divorce, job loss, pregnancy, menopause, abuse, rape and other unpleasant experiences, then hereditary factors may be the suspect in that case.

One important point worthy of note is that unhealthy eating habits and lack of adequate exercise are also very common causes of depression. So, you should never be in haste to conclude that a case of depression is due to genetics simply because you cannot trace it to biological or psychological causes.

I hope this article has been able to explain convincingly that genetics is also one of the factors which may cause depression.

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