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Caree Brown L.C.S.W. Psychotherapy

Individual, Couples, & Family Therapy


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Is Depression Genetic?

For generations, people have wondered what factors pave the path of our journey through life. What many psychologists have researched is the idea of nature versus nurture. In other words, are personality traits and mental illnesses a product of our environment (nurture) or something we are inherently born with (nature)? More recently, experts have been looking into depression and any genetic ties that could be pivotal factors. Is depression genetic?

To speak with someone about depression therapy, Caree Brown is always happy to listen.

Statistics on Depression

According to the Stanford School of Medicine, about 10% of all Americans will experience depression throughout their lifetime. However, their research also found that if someone has a relative who also experiences depression, then they are always five times as likely to develop it. This information alone has caused many experts to seriously consider the link between depression and genetics.

With such a large exponential factor for depression being family-related, it raises the eyes of those in the psychiatric field. Depression can be brought on by many different factors, and with the average lifespan of someone in America being 78 years old, there is a lot of time for that possibility to happen.

Defining Depression

When most people think of depression, they think of the synonymous words of sadness or apathy. However, depression cannot be so easily defined, and it is an extremely relative term. Having depression doesn’t just mean you feel sad, there are many other psychological and physical symptoms of it as well. Although sadness is a major symptom of depression, so are changes in appetite, the loss of interest in the activity, feeling fatigued, change in sleep pattern, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide if it gets bad.

Depression isn’t sadness from something that should warrant sadness. To be classified as depression, these feelings and symptoms need to be chronic and last for at least two weeks. There are some medical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of depression, so it is important to get a professional diagnosis. Career Brown can offer psychotherapy to help you deal with the existence of depression and its sometimes debilitating symptoms.

So is Depression Genetic?

With such shocking statistics as the ones above, it would be impossible to rule out their connection altogether. However, it is important to consider the argument that experiencing the behavior of relatives with depression could influence a person’s behavior.

According to the American Journey of Psychiatry, there are other studies that research on the topic, including one recently done by a British research team. This team of researchers found a gene that appears to be prevalent in family members who suffer from depression. Due to this finding, they are suggesting that 40% of the condition is linked to genetics (nature), while 60% is linked to the environment (nurture).

How to Treat your Depression

If you experience depression, then you know it can be quite debilitating in everyday life. With so many relationships and responsibilities, it’s hard to be out of commission for very long. The good news is that depression is one of the most treatable conditions around, with an 80-90% success rate.

Some cases are as simple as undergoing a routine therapy schedule. Being able to talk through your problems, and get an outsider’s professional take on what you are feeling can be cathartic. In more severe cases, medication might be necessary to rework the brain chemistry that is causing the problem. In any case, it is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment schedule made. Contact a professional therapist to help with your plan today, like Caree Brown.