Is Depression Genetic?

Can you inherit this awful condition?

Claire McGregor

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Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

It’s no secret that I have wondered about the impact growing up with severely depressed parents (my mother and stepfather) has had on our siblings. From both a nature and a nature perspective, I wondered if depression is genetic and can be passed on and if we ever really had a chance of escaping it.

What The Statistics Say

  • A study into twins by Stanford found that identical twins prove an average genetic component of 37%.
  • Studies also show that the child of a parent with depression is between two and three times more likely to develop depression.
  • According to Yale News, “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) researchers at Yale University School of Medicine and University of California-San Diego have run a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of genetic and health records of 1.2 million people from four separate data banks has identified 178 gene variants linked to major depression”.
  • The Stanford study also determined that adopted children have a greater history of depression if one of their biological parents suffered from depression, which suggests depression is genetic, at least partially.
  • According to a national study of twins in Sweden, there’s also a gender element. This study analysed 42,161 twins and found “indicated that the heritability of liability to major depression was significantly higher in women (42%) than men (29%)”

So the data would seem to suggest that genetics do play a part, but is that the whole story?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What About Environmental Factors?

There’s little doubt, especially to me, that growing up with depressed parents does have an impact. As I explained in my piece about faulty thinking, many people with depression think in patterns that are very unhelpful. If you’re constantly exposed to that thinking while growing up, it seems natural they may also begin to think this way.

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Claire McGregor

I’m a writer taking my time to learn what good writing’s about and get my blog off the ground. I want to connect and learn. My Blog https://www.cmoomuses.com