Is depression hereditary?
Quite often you are confused when you try to figure out the exact reasons behind your depression. Everything seems to be going fine with your life and yet there is something that bothers you every single day. You love your life and yet are not happy. Why is it so? Why can’t you be happy with your almost perfect life? This gives rise to the question “Is Depression Hereditary?” Are your genes keeping you away from that sense of happiness and fulfillment? Let’s find out.
What is depression and is it genetic?
Clinical depression or as some other people call it crippling depression is the most major depressive disorder that one can go through. There are many reasons why a person suffers from clinical depression. Heredity is one among them. We all love the notion of inheriting the blue eyes and pink cheeks of our parents or our grandparents, but I am sure that depression is one such thing none of us would like to inherit.
But no matter we like it or not, it is a fact that depression can be inherited, particularly if the parent or someone in that lineage has had a terrible experience of it. The Stanford School of Medicine estimates that almost 10% of Americans are likely to suffer from this kind of depression. A person whose relative has had a history with depression has five folds more chances than any normal being of developing depression.
How are genes related to depression?
Like it or hate it but you certainly can’t ignore it. Like countless things or disorders out there, heredity definitely plays a role behind someone being depressed. But to what extent, nobody seems to know. However, researches done by scientists have found out that the chromosome SLC6A15 may be a factor into determining which people are at an increased risk of developing depression. Scientists believe that around 40% of people suffering from depression can blame their ancestors for it. The remaining 60% of people suffer from depression due to external factors.
Does it mean that depression will be passed on to you?
So your parent or your uncle might have suffered from depression in the past. But are you destined to inherit that or is there a way to not affect you? That is a question most of us would like to know if we are on that kind of a boat. Not necessarily. There is no doubt that there has been cases where genes have played a role in determining if a person develops depression, but in the majority of cases, external factors have been the main reason behind it. Some of the external factors behind clinical or crippling depression are
- Loneliness or social isolation: Loneliness can play a major role in developing clinical depression. Many cases of depression have cropped up due to social isolation.
- A troubled childhood: If someone had experienced trauma as a child then there is a high possibility of that person to suffer from depression.
- A chronic pain: Knowing the cause but not being able to do anything about it can be another reason. Specially for chronic pains which have taken a toll on the person.
- Having a serious medical condition: Someone suffering from a serious medical condition like cancer or heart disease can start to develop clinical depression.
- Alcohol and other drug abuse: Too much of anything is bad. We have heard that adage since we were kids. That is specially true for alcohol and drugs which can be another reason behind people suffering from depression.
Can you reduce this risk of inheriting depression?
People tend to suffer from clinical depression due to a chemical imbalance in their brain. It is a medical condition that has no sure shot ways to prevent it. However, there are certain things which when done properly greatly reduces the risk of developing depression, be it from external factors or depression due to hereditary. Some of the ways are:
- Manage your stress: Stress has been the main culprit behind depression in so many cases. If you are super stressed, then there are high chances of you developing depression. So keep your stress levels in check. Always remember there is no point stressing about something if you have no control over it. Manage your stress and you will manage to keep depression far away from you.
- Exercise regularly: Physical exercises are a good way to beat depression. A sound body is essential for a sound mind. Schedule your physical activities regularly and don’t miss them. Yoga and meditation also goes a long way to keep depression at bay.
- Take care of your diet: Food, food, food. If you don’t eat well, you can’t be well. Make sure that you eat the right kinds of food. A good diet helps you to think positively and develop the confidence that you have always craved.
- Maintain your mental health: Even if you are not suffering from depression, it is still advisable to see a mental health professional and talk about yourself or if anything is bothering you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from such an interaction.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: It has been seen that people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse also tend to suffer from depression. Moderation in alcohol intake can be a good policy to follow for everyone. Stay away from illicit drugs.
- Stay in touch with others: Go out, have a laugh, play a sport or watch a movie with friends. These things are the perfect way to not let depression anywhere close to you.
So, there is no doubt that depression can be caused due to genes i.e it is hereditary. But there are certain things that you can do to keep it at bay. No matter if your parent or your uncle suffered from depression or not, you certainly can work towards not developing it.