Is depression genetic? Root causes and other factors

While a person’s genetics may indicate a potential risk of depression, it cannot always predict whether they would experience this mental illness.

There is no single cause of major depressive disorder (MDD), and the connection between genetics, depression and other recognized variables is even more complicated.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses and, according to recent studies, affects about 350 million people. While there is evidence that depression runs in families, it’s not clear how much risk is determined by genes alone.

People with a higher hereditary risk may be able to take protective measures, such as creating a healthy home environment, getting enough sleep, and eating nutritious meals.

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depression and genetic factors

According to some research, compared to the general population, someone who has a first-degree family (a parent, sibling, or child) diagnosed with DCS may be three times more likely to develop the disease. At the average 10% chance in the general population, they have about a 30% chance of developing it.

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The complex interaction of many factors, not just specific genes, determines heredity. Researchers often explore variations in genes as they research mental health problems. Based on their impact on the gene, if any, these changes are classified.

Some diseases, such as sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis, are caused by a single gene. However, unlike other common inherited disorders such as diabetes, mental health problems are not caused by a single gene. Instead, a complex interaction between genes, biological processes, and environmental causes affects depression.

So, despite the fact that DCS runs in families, it’s not just passed on directly and immediately from your parents. Certain genetic combinations from your parents can increase your risk of getting the disease. Your odds can also be affected by additional variables such as trauma, substance abuse, and family background.


Depression and environmental factors

Even for those with a family history of major depressive disorder, depressive episodes aren’t always a given. Despite a high hereditary association, environmental factors still account for a 60% chance of contracting it.

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Among other things, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to depression, such as a family where the parents were extremely depressed, severe stressful events, chronic tension, history of violence or neglect, and maladaptive coping. Add trauma, the death of a loved one, social isolation, serious physical illness, and other significant life events to the list.

According to the study, a high-quality family environment rules out divorce and the death of both parents before the child reaches the age of 15. Researchers have found that adoptive parents with high levels of education, stable employment, and low levels of drug or substance use are better able to provide a stable home environment.

There are many types of families. Any type of home or family structure that you feel is right for you and your loved ones can be considered a high-quality, healthy home environment.


Other contributing factors

MDD has various factors associated with it.  (Image via Pexels/Karolina Grabowska)Breakup and death are all disturbing factors.  (Image via Pexels/Ike Louie)

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