Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, India’s rate of mental health patients rose to 61 percent of the total population. This means more than every second person is going through some mental health issue. This marks a huge concern for a lot of people. Mental health issues like anxiety and depression can be a result of lockdown, financial traps, job loss, relationship loss, etc. But can anxiety and depression be genetic?
Anxiety is a non-medical term that is a sensation or feeling of fear of something bad about to happen. Basically feeling you get when you are worrying or fearing about something particular. Anxiety is associated with stress. Hence, it causes physical symptoms like muscle tension too. An anxiety attack takes place when there is something particular triggering the person. The majority of the times anxiety takes place due to some event or situation. Though, this is not the case always.
Depression is a mood disorder. Basically, the intense and constant feeling of being sad, lonely, loss, or angry hampers your daily life. Also, it is quite common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given 2-week period from 2013 to 2016. Depression affects people in different ways. In some cases, it can hamper work-life that results in loss of time and working quality. It may also affect relationships and any chronic disease.
Can Anxiety and Depression be Genetic?
Genetics can play a huge role in introducing anxiety and depression into your life. In case someone in your family has any one of the conditions, then you are likely to get these diseases. But this doesn’t make it compulsory that you will get it. And also, you can have anxiety or depression even if no one in your family ever had it. So these things can be passed on easily from generation to generation but this is not compulsory.
And the most important thing to look at is that you get proper treatment for your mental health condition. If someone in your relative has an anxiety disorder or depression, you’ll get to know about symptoms and then you can watch out for the starting symptoms and ways about how to control them.
Researches about Anxiety and Depression being “Genetic”.
Various studies and doctors conclude that anxiety and depression are partly hereditary from studies of twins. Identical twins have the same set of genes, whereas fraternal twins share only half of their genes. Identical twins are more likely to get both anxiety and depression when compared to fraternal twins. This states that maybe these mental health disorders are related to some specific genes. This may make them hereditary.
But there is no general gene found that causes anxiety or depression. So, it’s a bit odd or difficult to conclude that how either of them can be passed on from generation to generation. Combinations of different genes from your parents may affect whether you’re likely to get anxiety or depression. But there is no specified group of genes that causes anxiety or depression.
But genes are not the only reason that why someone gets anxiety or depression. Many other reasons can increase your chances of having an anxiety or depression-like lifestyle, working environment, relationship issues, etc.
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Symptoms of anxiety
- worry and apprehension
- sleep problems
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling pressure and hurried
Symptoms of depressions
Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms of depression may vary from men to women to children.
Symptoms in men
- mood- anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness
- emotional well-being- feeling empty, sad, hopeless
- behavior- loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities
- sexual interest- reduced sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
- cognitive abilities- inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations
- sleep patterns- insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night
- physical well-being- fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems
Symptoms in women
- mood – irritability
- emotional well-being- feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless
- behavior- loss of interest in activities, withdrawing from social engagements, thoughts of suicide
- cognitive abilities-thinking or talking more slowly
- sleep patterns- difficulty sleeping through the night, waking early, sleeping too much
- physical well-being- decreased energy, greater fatigue, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pain, headaches, increased cramps
Symptoms in children
- mood – irritability, anger, mood swings, crying
- emotional well-being- feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can’t do anything right”) or despair, crying, intense sadness
- behavior –getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide
- cognitive abilities – difficulty concentrating, decline in school performance, changes in grades
- sleep patterns – difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- physical well-being – loss of energy, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain
Habits that can help you in reducing anxiety attack
An anxiety attack majorly hits a person due to fear of something bad happening in a particular situation. This means there is a specific subject that is creating a sense of fear in that person. It tends to develop gradually over time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. There may be a sense that it can be over once that particular problem is solved. Here are some things that you can do to handle an anxiety attack.
Talk it out
No matter how better you handle yourself, sometimes you need to listen to specific things from someone else. So let it out. Sharing what you are going through is going to help you a lot. Don’t think about what you are going to express and how. Just do it in the rawest form. Call or text a friend or loved one and just vent it out. Listen to them. Listen to the reassurance they offer you. You will soon feel calm and your thoughts at peace as they are no longer hitting your head.
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Get up, take a walk, wash your face, cry, or throw a paper, Anything. Do anything else. Just don’t let your body rest in that cyclone of thoughts. Any activity in the middle of an anxiety attack will interrupt your thought process. This is the most essential part to do. So do anything to interrupt the course of anxiety. It may help you in easing it down.
“Stand up, take a walk, throw away a piece of trash from your desk — any action that interrupts your train of thought helps you regain a sense of control”, Chansky suggests.
Give your thoughts some fact checks.
During Anxiety, a person is very prone to get triggered easily. Even a small thought or action from someone can bring a huge reaction. Ultimately, unnecessary thinking adds up to your anxiety. Hence, it is very important to stop yourself and ask, “Do I have a valid answer to my thoughts?’. And if yes, start cutting off your bad thoughts with good and positive answers full of reassurance. Ask questions from yourself and answer them with reality. You might get know that how much extra were you thinking.
Breathe in and out
This is one of the most tried and effective things to do when you are anxious. Anxiety surely makes your heart pound ghastly. This results in fasten up your breathing. All this combined makes you feel more anxious. You feel like everything is running and nothing is under your control. And in such times, it is very important to stop or slow down. And the first step you can take to slow down is to slow down your breathing first. Hence, deep breathing is considered to be one of the most effective ways to calm down your anxiety.