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Is Depression Hereditary?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

If you or someone you love is dealing with depression you have most likely started wondering is depression hereditary. This is especially true when the person suffering is related to you. All sorts of scary questions and worries will pop into your head if a parent or sibling is battling with this illness. Hereditary depression is something you should think about if a close relative deals with this on a daily basis.  Depression is common enough to be affecting more than 19 million Americans each year. It is important that people try to understand the illness and those who live with it are able to ask for help.

Bipolar Disorder Or Manic Depression

When struggling with the question, is depression hereditary, it’s a good idea to consider the different types of depression separately.  Bipolar disorder or Manic depression is a form of hereditary depression. It is a known fact that this illness hits women more than men and that those who have no known relatives suffering from it in their family tree have the least amount of risk to getting the illness themselves. On the other hand if it’s found often in a family tree then a person’s chances do increase.  If you suffer from this form of depression you should think about the 5-15 percent chance you’ll pass this hereditary depression onto any children you have.

Depressive Disorder

Hereditary depression includes all forms of clinical depression. Regarding the question is depression hereditary and looking at Depressive disorder the answer is a resounding yes. Years ago when a person was diagnosed with depression the first cause that was considered was the environment. These days with new studies it is mostly uncontested that these burdensome mental illnesses are often found in our genes, leaving little preventative measures. The primary cause is often cited as chemical imbalances which points directly back to hereditary depression.


Dysthymia is a chronic depression where a person’s moods are low on a consistent basis. This illness affects as much as 5 percent of the population and generally occurs in women more often than in men. Answering yes to; is depression hereditary, really does depend on the clinical depression. This is another type of hereditary depression because it is generally found that if a person has a family member living with the illness they have a greater chance of suffering from it within their life. Often people suffering from this form of depression also struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, anxiety or other mental health disorders. Manic disorder, depressive disorder and dysthymia are all clinical depressions that are caused by chemical disorders which is found to be a form of hereditary depression.

Anxiety Can Lead To Clinical Depression

Often people who suffer from anxiety and don’t seek proper treatment can end up experiencing clinical depression. It’s quite common for a person who suffers from anxiety to start speaking with a family member and open up about their struggles only to find out that an aunt or a cousin also is seeking treatment for the issue. One of the biggest problems with anxiety and depression is that people often feel they’ll be misunderstood if they open up about their worries and that a family member or friend won’t understand or will think that they should be able to just put a happy face on. It’s not unusual for a person to not even consider the idea is depression hereditary.

What Predisposes A Person To The Chance Is Depression Hereditary?

Your chances of hereditary depression will greatly increase if you have a parent, aunt or uncle, or sibling who suffers from clinical depression. It can increase as much as 1 ½ times to three times with just one relative this close who lives with clinical depression. There have been many different studies and the results are inconsistent as yet. There have been theories that the gene linking the illness actually varies from family to family. Because of this thought process it is difficult to track it down specifically. There has been some research into is depression hereditary that makes claims that soon there will be screenings offered for the gene that predisposes a person to manic depression. This may help people to take important preventative measures or to decide whether or not they want to have children.

What To Do If You Suspect You Have Depression?

Thinking is depression hereditary may be the first step for a person to start acknowledging the fact they may be dealing with a bigger problem than just a bout of sadness that they can’t shake. Hereditary depression is very serious and should not go untreated. The first thing you should do if you feel this is something you’re dealing with is open up to a trusted family member or friend. Finding out that a member of the family has had similar symptoms to yourself can help you to work through the question, is depression hereditary.

After the initial conversation regarding hereditary depression you should seek professional advice. There are many ways to get treatment and even more ways that good treatment can really help a person to feel better about their daily struggles. Getting involved with a support group is just one way that a person can start to feel less alone in the quest to understand is depression hereditary. Speaking to a professional therapist is another way to get on the right track to getting the help you will need to live a better lifestyle. There may be the instance that the therapist suggests medication, particularly with cases that involve clinical depression and chemical imbalance.

A Note On Medication

First of all it’s important to understand that it isn’t your fault when living with clinical depression. Don’t feel taking a prescription means you’re less than anyone else. The most important thing about getting prescriptions for your depression is to take them exactly as the doctor prescribes. This is especially important with any antidepressants as failing to do so can cause more issues than it cures. If you have any concerns about your medication bring them up to your doctor before taking the first pill.



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