Can Depression Be Genetic?

Though no one knows what the cause of depressive disorder is, it was proven that depression has a genetic component. Even if your genetics can be responsible for the fact whether or not you will suffer from this condition at any time of your life, this says that you are more susceptible to developing this condition, but it doesn’t mean that you definitely will.

How Genetics Is Linked to Depression

Parents, children and siblings of people with major depressive disorder have a higher prevalence of suffering from depression than their counterparts. Twin studies, which research how often twins get the same trait, also prove this genetic link. Even pairs of non-identical twins were concluded to have major depressive disorder at a 20% rate. With pairs of identical twins this rate equaled to 50% as they have the same genetic material. However, the research hasn’t found what particular genes are associated with depression, so researches came to a conclusion that depression is a genetically complex condition that involves a variety of genes and lots of inheritance modes.

What Else Causes Depression

Besides genetics, there are other potential causes of this condition, which include the following:

1. Brain structure. Research has shown that people suffering from depression might have differences in brain structure, however, this issue is still being studied.

2. Brain chemistry. Depressed people have decreased functioning and low levels of neurotransmitters, the chemicals affecting well-being and mood.

3. Hormones. When there is hormonal imbalance because of such reasons as menopause, pregnancy and labor, thyroid issues, it may trigger depression in susceptible people.

4. Stress. Sometimes people may develop situational depression as a result of an extremely stressful situation.

These factors may be exacerbated by genetic predisposition to developing depressive disorders, however, individuals without genetic factors can suffer from it too.

Common Depression Symptoms

The signs of depression vary from one person to another, but generally you need to have five or more of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with major depression, or experience them for two weeks at least:

• Fatigue;
• Excess sleepiness or insomnia;
• Consuming more or less food, which may result in weight gain or loss;
• Feeling guilty, worthless and/or hopeless;
• Suicide or death thoughts;
• Irritability and/or restlessness;
• Constant anxiety and feeling upset;
• Such physical symptoms as head- or stomachache.

Depression Treatment

Major depressive disorders are usually treated with the help of psychotherapy or/and medications. Sometimes it may take time to make up the best treatment plan, so if you have been diagnosed with this condition, try to be patient.

Make sure your communication with a medical specialist is open and direct as to any side effects that may be the result of specific medications, herbs or vitamins intake and other complications that may arise during the therapy.