Depression and Genetics
Depression and genetics: The 21st century has come with many wonders, one that outstands in comparison to the rest, it is how comfortable young people are sharing their thoughts and feelings. Said attribute has been normalised, to the point where it is common to encounter long posts regarding all kind of hardships, including personal experiences with mental illness.
Conversations about mental health are important, especially due to the fact that mental disorders are on the rise. In fact, over 300 million people suffer from depression around the world, stats show.
If treated on time, depression can be manageable, and even harmless; but it can evolve quickly if it is left untreated, worsening people well-being, and putting their lives at risk. Hence, it is crucial to spot depression on time, and in order to do so, awareness must be created in regard to depression, its symptom, and treatments.
For starters, depressive disorders are classified as mood disorders, and they have two main subcategories: major depressive disorder, and dysthymia. Regardless of the type, depressive disorders share the same distinctive symptom: an overwhelming feeling of sadness.
When it comes to depression, there is more than sadness involves. Other common symptoms are hopelessness, numbness, lack of motivation, apathy, social withdraw, and even anger or irritability. Also, depression can also lead to suicide, to the point where it is the major contributor to suicides.
As any mental disorder, depressive disorders are the result of multiple factors working together. Biologically speaking, depression is the result of unbalanced neurotransmitters on the brain; from a psychological standpoint. Also, life events (the death of a loved one, break-ups, poverty, or unhealthy habits) can trigger depression.
Moreover, evidence suggests that depression can also be inherited. Research has shown that there is a genetic factor involved, to the point where scientists debate if depression is caused by genetics or the environment. More evidence’s needed to answer this question. However, it is likely that multiple factors are the cause of this disease, rather than a sole one.
As aforementioned, it is impossible to pinpoint the specific cause of depression. A genetic predisposition does not guarantee the appearance of depression later in life, just like the lack of a genetic predisposition does not mean that people are immune to it. Thus, the statement “depression runs in the families” should be taken with a grain of salt.
The final intake should be that depression does not cherry-pick. Thus, everyone is at risk and it is important to take precautions against this disease. People who have struggled with depression or any other mental disorder should share their medical records with their children’s physicians, in order for them to look for any possible red flags, and spot and treat depression before it evolves.
Lastly, if you or someone you know is struggling with depressive symptoms, do not hesitate and seek for professional help, depression can escalate and lead to suicide. There is no shame asking for help, there are professional willing to help you.