Questions About Depression: Is Depression Genetic?

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In order to get effective treatment for your depression, you must identify and understand all of the possible causes for depression. One major idea to consider is whether depression is a genetic disorder. Genes determine a lot about a person, such as hair colour, eye colour and height, but can they also influence which medical conditions you will be most susceptible to throughout your life.

Is Depression Genetic?

When researching the genetic link to depression, experts often ask the following questions:

* What depression lifestyle factors are influenced by genetics?
* If depression is genetic, can it be prevented?
* If other family members suffer from depression, to what extent is risk increased?

Recent studies indicate that there is in fact some link between genetics and depression. If an identical twin is depressed, the chances of their twin sibling also becoming depressed are increased by 50% or higher. When the twins are fraternal, the likelihood drops to 20%, but is still considerable. Even among adopted siblings, research shows that depression is still common in children whose biological family suffers from some form of depression.

Some research into the condition of depression attempts to locate specific genes that can cause depression and the associated symptoms. Many studies have identified certain genes that could be related to depression, but these results are inconclusive as well as inconsistent. It does, however, appear that some genes lead to depression in some family units, but not in others.

It seems unlikely that one gene causes depression directly, but instead that a group of genes working together to predispose the illness. One of the genes that have been put in isolation is named 5-HTT. This gene is responsible for aiding in the regulation of the neurotransmitter, serotonin.

The 5-HTT gene comes in both a long and short form. An individual could inherit two of the short form, two of the long form, or one of each. The short form is less effective in serotonin regulation. Studies indicate that an adult who has the short form of the gene is more likely to exhibit signs of depression when faced with traumatic or intensely stressful events compared to an adult who has the long form of the gene.

However, just because an individual inherits a gene that will increase their susceptibility to falling to depression, does not guarantee that that individual will actually develop the disorder. Depression genetics indicate that a person who carries the gene and is exposed to a life changing or traumatic situation may be predisposed to depression. It is important to arrange your lifestyle in a way that gives you the freedom to effectively handle stress, whether you are inflicted with depression or not.

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