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Can Depression be Genetic?

Can Depression be Genetic?

Depression is a mood disorder. 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 per cent 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 and result in loss of time and working quality. It may also affect relationships and any chronic disease.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, India’s rate of mental health patients rose to 61 per cent 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 depression be genetic?

Genetics can play a huge role in introducing depression into your life. In case someone in your family has a history of depression, then you are likely to get this disease. 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 it 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.

Also check out: Signs that your loved one is depressed

What does research say?

Various studies and doctors conclude that depression is 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 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 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 depression. Many other reasons can increase your chances of having a depression-like lifestyle, working environment, relationship issues, etc.

Also check out: 10 Things not to say to someone struggling with mental illness.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a constant feeling of being sad. Depression affects you differently in different stages. At some stages it can affect your mood, at others it can affect your body. Symptoms might be constant or may come and go. The Symptoms of depression may vary from Men to women to children.

Symptoms of Depression 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 of Depression 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 of Depression 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.

Positive steps towards reducing the affects of depression

Good Sleep

A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances. Good sleep can help in reducing stress. Depression and stress disturb your sleep cycle, which can lead to many physiological and physical problems. Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can particularly stress relieving as it can make you tired so that you get a good sleep.


Stress causes depression and anxiety Exercise is known as one of the best ways to reduce stress. Putting physical stress on your body can help you in relieving mental stress. If you are not regular at exercising, you may find it difficult in the initial days. You may feel that it is adding more to your anxiety but on some days you may feel the difference. Here, consistency is the key. Being regular at exercising can help you in dealing with depression. Exercise lowers downs the level of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. It also helps in releasing endorphins, a chemical that helps in uplifting the mood.

Also check out: Anxiety in Women – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Separate yourself from Depression

You are a separate individual. Having depression doesn’t describe who you are. It’s just a medical condition that doesn’t define your potential and existence. Treat yourself separately from depression. Try to believe in doing things you are good at. Don’t underestimate yourself. Doing this can boost up your confidence and lookout for life.

Make yourself feel loved

Pampering others is okay but pampering yourself is the key. Do whatever makes you feel happy. It’s okay to avoid people or things that feel toxic or ruin your mood. Whenever you feel like having a depressive episode, just give yourself a day or two. Don’t stress yourself. Just do what makes you happy and relaxed. Physical rest is okay but give your brain some resting time. Try to experience peace as much as you can.

Avoid procrastination.

Procrastination is an act of delaying anything. Learn to set up your priorities and work accordingly. Procrastination will leave you with crumbled and a lot of work. This will make it difficult for you to complete the task on time and also will put you under a lot of stress. Stress can make you anxious and create a sense of self-doubt. This environment encourages depressive episodes. Also, pending work can hamper your sleep either by keeping you busy in completing it or busy in thinking about it

Do deep breathing exercises

This is one of the most tried and effective things to do when you are having a depressive episode. it is very important to stop or slow down whenever you feel like having depression. And the first step you can take to slow down is to slow down your breathing first. Deep breathing gives a sense of calmness. It makes you feel that things are under your control. This can make you feel better. Hence, deep breathing is considered to be one of the most effective ways to calm down your mind.

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