Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Can Depression Run In The Family

Can You Be Depressed Without Feeling Sad

What to Do if Depression Runs in Your Family

Some people may appear to be depressed for no reason. This may lead to questions such as can you be depressed without feeling it or can you be depressed without being sad? The short answer to this question is yes, because sadness is not the primary indicator of depression. According to clinical reports, older adults often deny feelings of sadness even when they are displaying other characteristic signs of depression .

Furthermore, people with depression who do not experience or report sadness usually have unexplained physical symptoms and discuss feeling hopelessness. They may also suffer from anxiety or avoid activities that they previously enjoyed. Additional features that often indicate silent depression include a lack of interest in personal hygiene or slow movements . However, these are just a few common behaviors of people who are experiencing depression without feeling sad.

Is Depression Genetic Heres What Experts Have To Say

If your parent or sibling had depression, maybe youre worried youll get it too. Or perhaps youre concerned that because you had depression, youll pass it on to your child. Whatever the case, you may find yourself wondering: Is depression genetic?

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the US. About one out of every six adults will have depression at some time in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone can become depressed, regardless of their age, gender, race, or background.

There is evidence that depression can run in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing depression, Natalie Dattilo, PhD, director of psychology services at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, tells Health. Research is in early stages, though, and much is still unknown about the genetic basis of the condition. Studies suggest that variations in many genes, rather than one single gene, combine to increase the risk of developing depression.

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Depression can be caused by a number of factors, says Dattilo. When Im working with people to help them understand where their depression came from, we think about it from a biopsychosocial perspective, she says. Thats biological, psychological, and social. All of those things need to be considered.

Is Depression Hereditary In Families

From red-haired curls to dimpled cheeks, certain characteristics run in families. But not every inherited trait is as harmless as a dimpled cheek. Some families struggle with a darker legacy: depression. People who live with this mental illness arent just blue-they often feel hopeless, helpless, and, in the most serious cases, suicidal. The symptoms are profound enough that it becomes hard to live everyday life. But is depression hereditary in families? And if it does, can you do anything to prevent it? Here are the answers you need to build a healthier life:

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Children Mirror Parent Behaviors

Having a family history of the condition may also increase risk because children can learn styles of thinking from the people around them, says Dattilo. If a child witnesses a parent or sibling struggle with depression, it’s possible they might develop a pessimistic outlook on life, which is a risk factor for depression.

“Your outlook on life can be heavily influenced by the people who you spent a lot of time with early on,” she says, “and that can shape your view on the world and how you expect things to turn out.”

Since family history can contribute to depression risk in more ways than one, it’s important to be aware if you do have family members who have struggled with the condition. Laura Honos-Webb, PhD, author of Listening to Depression, tells Health that those who do have a family history should try to be extra attentive to their own mood. Having an understanding of what your normal mood is like and being attuned to any changes is key. If you do notice a change, even if it’s minor, consider seeking help. “Be proactive and protective,” advises Honos-Webb.

Also, be aware of how family members with depression were treated and how they responded to that treatment. “That’s going to better inform your doctor as to which treatments will be most effective for you,” says Dattilo, explaining that family members often respond similarly to the same treatments.

Having Family Members With Mental Illnesses Isnt A Guarantee That Youll Develop One Too But There Are A Few Important Ways To Prepare For The Possibility

Depression in Seniors, a Growing Concern

Theres no blood test that determines whether or not youre carrying a gene that increases your risk for a certain mental health condition, Dr. Abbasi says. You simply need to know your family history.

So the first step, of course, is encouraging your older family members to be open about any mental health issues they have dealt with or that their family members may have experienced. Considering the stigma mental illness has had in the past and still has today, its understandable that your parents or older family members may not feel particularly comfortable talking about it. But treat mental illness like you would any other health conditionlike heart disease or cancerand specifically ask about it when discussing your familys medical history with them.

And, as with those other conditions, having as much detail as possible about the mental illnesses that run in your family is crucial. You have to understand your risk and gather as much information as you can, like what illness runs in your family, how it presents, and how severe it has been, Dr. Abbasi says. Having that awareness is half the battle.

And finally, it doesnt hurt to think about next steps, Dr. Abbasi says. Indeed, its helpful to have a plan in place for what youll do and which mental health professionals youll talk to if you do start to notice any symptoms in yourself or your children.


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Environment Matters When It Comes To Depression

We know that there is a strong correlation between a persons environment and depression. For example, people who live unhealthy lifestyles may also have a more difficult time overcoming depression symptoms than healthier people. Some studies have shown that people who have parents or family members with depression may be more susceptible. If you spend your life watching someone suffer from untreated depression symptoms, then you might not realize their behaviors are unhealthy.

When To Seek Emergency Help

If you are thinking of harming yourself or someone else, call 911 or seek emergency medical help immediately. You can also seek help through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP .

If you are having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

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Find Relief At Clear Mind Treatment

Since depression and other mental health conditions arent just caused by one thing, they require many options and therapies to find a solution that provides relief for YOU! We have a variety of effective therapy solutions at Clear Mind Treatment to help you get on the path to renewed wellness. Come see us in our Torrance location!

When To Seek Help

Does Mental Illness Run in the Family

Anyone who has felt persistently down, sad, angry, or numb can speak with a doctor at any time to get help. Doing this sooner will mean a person can access treatment more quickly.

A person does not need to wait until symptoms become severe before getting support. Speaking with a doctor or mental health professional early may help prevent depression from progressing.

If a person does not have symptoms but is concerned about their depression risk, they can also speak with a medical professional for advice on how to look after their mental health.

People with severe symptoms or thoughts of suicide should seek help immediately.

Also Check: Treatment Plan For Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features

When Depression Runs In The Family

Being Haunted Isn’t the Same as Being Cursed

My family is haunted by depression. My mother can trace it back in her family at least six generations and it’s in my father’s family, too. When it hits, it hits hard. We don’t get “down in the dumps,” we get lost in the pits. Some people find themselves or are found, others get lost forever. The melancholies, nerves and breakdowns of my ancestors landed them in sanitariums, rest homes or in upstairs rooms from which they never emerged. Treatment involved the state-of-the-art interventions of the time: cold packs, electric current, sedating drugs. Sometimes people got better. Sometimes they didn’t.

Six months into my own treatment for an episode of depression that scared me in its speed, severity and stubbornness, I had placed most of my emotional cards on the table, but was disappointed that my therapist still hadn’t constructed some brilliant framework in which my difficulties and those of my family could be finally uncovered and our dysfunction excised. Since he never volunteered his opinion on the subject, I finally just demanded, “Why are there so many problems in my family?” He shrugged and replied calmly, “Because there are so many people in it.”

Disturbance Of Neurogenesis And Neuroplasticity

A large body of experimental data has recently provided evidence of a link between the development of depression with disturbance of normal neurogenesis during brain ontogenetic development and decreased neurogenesis of the adult brain. These effects are thought to be caused by metabolism disturbance of neurotrophic factors, primarily the brain-derived neurotrophic factor in nervous tissue .

BDNF is abundantly expressed in the adult brain’s limbic structures. Some data have shown a connection between the BDNF-mediated signaling pathway and the functioning of serotoninergic neurons. For example, BDNF maintains the survivability and differentiation of serotoninergic neurons, and serotoninergic transmission exerts a strong influence on BDNF expression .

A functional missense polymorphism rs6265 was described in BDNF that is associated with the substitution of methionine with valine in codon 66 . The Met allele was shown to cause disturbed maturation of the protein and to be associated with decreased BDNF activity , which might be caused by two different mechanisms: the infective transport of the mutant protein over the regulatory secretory pathway and the defective transport of BDNF mRNA to dendrites . Val66Met is a frequent polymorphism whose frequency of alleles is determined by ethnicity. Met allele frequency is 2532% in European populations and reaches 4050% in Asian populations .

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Will Mental Illness Run In My Family

If someone in your family has a mental illness, you might be worried about developing the same condition.

If you have a mental illness you might be worried that your children or siblings will develop the same or a different mental illness.

Most people with a mental illness do not have relatives with the same illness. But research does suggest that mental illness can run in families.

The table below shows the chances of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder being passed down through family members. These numbers are based on recent studies. But different studies can show different numbers.

Schizophrenia Bipolar
Lifetime chance. This is the chance of someone in the general population developing the condition during their lifetime. 1 in 100
If one of your biological parents has the condition 6 in 100
If both of your biological parents have the condition 45 in 100
If your brother or sister has the condition 9 in 100
If your identical twin has the condition 40-50 in 100
If your non-identical twin has the condition 17 in 100
If a second degree relative has the condition. For example, your aunt, uncle or grandparent. 3 in 100 5 in 100

It might be helpful to look at the figures in the table in a different way. For example, the chance of someone developing bipolar disorder is 1 out of 100. This means that 99 people are not going to develop bipolar disorder.

Does Depression Run In Families


Depression manifests itself in many different ways. A person may become withdrawn, scatterbrained or extremely irritable. Sleep may go into overdrive or become scarce. Appetite may also be at one extreme or the other. Feelings of hopelessness, sadness or anxiety may dominate for weeks, months or even years.

Major depression is found among all demographics, affecting both men and women of all ages, even children. It may seem to settle in out of the blue or it can be triggered by an upsetting life event. In a given year, about 7 percent of American adults experience major depression .

Many different things can trigger a depressive episode. Loss of a loved one and divorce are high on the list for depression triggers. So too are health problems and job loss. Abuse of alcohol and drugs can also create a cycle of depression, wherein one attempts to alleviate feelings of depression with the very same substance abuse that partly spurred the condition in the first place. However, less obvious events — like poor academic performance or traumatic events from the distant past — can also play a hand.

For the person experiencing major depression, life can become hellish. Friendships may be abandoned, jobs may be lost and healthy lifestyle habits shunned. Previous joys — hobbies, interests and activities — become joyless. Suicide may not only begin to seem like a plausible option, but even perhaps the only available option.

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Heres What You Need To Know And What You Can Do To Optimize Your Mental Health

Perhaps you inherited your mothers hair color, your fathers freckles, or your grandfathers distinctive dimples. You may be glad to have taken after your parents artistic streak or athleticism or some other trait that is unique to your family tree. But what if several members or even generations of your family suffer from depression? Is it genetic? Are you destined to have your own struggle with depression as well?

The Interaction Of Genes And Environment

While numerous risk factors can lead to depression, experts have generally concluded that genes and the environment interact to increase the risk of depression. There is not one single depression gene, but according to scientists writing for Frontiers in Psychiatry, multiple genes can increase the risk for depression. The disorder occurs due to an interaction of genetic and environmental risk factors. Genetics is believed to account for around 37% of the development of depression, but environment also plays a role, as genes on their own cannot explain the disorder.

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Getting Help And Having Hope

No matter what you or your family has been through, theres hope. Caring mental health professionals are always available to listen to you and offer guidance. The right residential treatment program can provide exactly the supportive environment you need to nurture you through even the darkest depression. Reach out for help today and begin moving forward toward a brighter tomorrow.

Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive residential treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward healing.

Does Heritability Of Depression Affect Children

Why Does Mental Illness Run in Families? | The Agenda

People with depression might be concerned they will pass on the condition to their children. While there could be a heritable component to depression, genetics is not the only determinant. Other factors contribute to risk, while some can be protective.

A child who has a parent with depression may have a genetic predisposition but will not necessarily become depressed. Other factors, including environmental factors or triggers, are also involved.

On the other hand, a child who does not have a family member with depression and is not genetically predisposed to the condition may become depressed if they are exposed to a triggering event such as experiencing a trauma.

Even if depression doesnt run in your family, all parents and adult caretakers need to know the signs of depression in children and teens.

Read Also: How Do I Save Myself From Depression

What Are Silent Symptoms Of Depression

Research has identified silent symptoms of depression, which include the following , , , :

  • Lack of energy Low energy levels upon waking or rapidly losing energy throughout the day
  • Anhedonia The general loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities or the reduced ability to feel pleasure
  • Overworking Focusing on continuous tasks or overworking to divert and prevent racing thoughts
  • Loss of interest in personal care Suddenly neglecting personal hygiene
  • Social withdrawal Avoiding social events, meeting with friends or loved ones, or communicating with other people
  • Excessive fatigue Constantly feeling tired, wanting to sleep for long periods of time, and feeling exhausted after sleeping
  • Intense mood swings Experiencing persistent mood fluctuations such as anxiousness, agitation, nervousness, irritability, hopelessness, or sadness
  • Pessimism Consistently expressing negative thoughts and expecting adverse events or situations to occur
  • Low self-esteem Expressing feeling worthless, hopeless, resentment, or failure
  • Poor eating habits and sleep disturbances Eating too much or too little and experiencing insomnia or a desire to sleep all day
  • Substance abuse Using or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, prescription medication, or recreational drugs to subdue symptoms

Depression is a multifaceted condition that may cause a range of emotional or physical symptoms. Speaking with a mental health care provider is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis.

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