Is Depression Genetic? Environmental and Inherited Depression Factors
You can inherit wide feet, blue eyes, color blindness, and freckles, among many other traits. And unfortunately, certain diseases like Huntington’s disease and cystic fibrosis can also be passed down from generation to generation.
But what about inherited depression? Is depression genetic or caused by your environment?
There is no black-and-white answer to that question. But there is significant evidence that depression is influenced both by genes and our environment.
How Your Environment Impacts Your Risk for Developing Depression
If you’re among the millions of people affected by depression every year, you may want to look at possible environmental factors in your mental illness. When considering environmental factors, you should consider your upbringing and your surroundings.
- Substance Abuse
Abusing prescription drugs like opioids and using illicit substances like cocaine, heroin, or meth puts you at a greater risk of developing depression. Opioids and stimulants interfere with the dopamine and serotonin naturally produced by your brain.
Your brain will eventually struggle to produce these hormones when you abuse drugs. And since these hormones impact your feelings of happiness and pleasure, you’re likely to feel sad and depressed when you aren’t using them.
- Childhood Trauma
One of the most significant environmental factors leading to depression is childhood trauma. Suppose you experienced sexual, verbal, or physical abuse, witnessed a death, experienced a tragic accident, or were diagnosed with a chronic illness. In that case, you have a greater risk of developing depression.
- Environmental Pollutants
While studies are still being conducted to determine how much environmental pollutants impact your depression risk, research has concluded there is a link between the two. Air, water, and even noise
pollution can be a factor in your likelihood of depression symptoms.
The synthetic chemicals you expose yourself to, like additives, preservatives, hormones, pesticides, and dyes found in processed foods, may also play a role in your depression risk.
- Chronic Illness
When you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness, it takes a toll on your mental health. If that’s you, or you’ve experienced a severe injury like a lost limb on paralysis, you have a higher chance of developing depression.
Losing a loved one is a significant environmental factor in developing depression. But grief can also come after other circumstances, such as major life changes. Moving, losing a job, divorce, or any other impactful life situation can also lead to grief and depression.
The experiences you have and the environment in which you live most definitely impact how likely you are to develop depression. Sometimes, your depression may occur due to these factors, or they may combine with your genetic predisposition to the mental illness.
The experiences you have and the environment in which you live most definitely have an impact on how likely you are to develop depression. Sometimes, your depression may occur due to these factors, or they may combine with your genetic predisposition to the mental illness.
Inherited Depression: The Role Genetics Play in Mental Illness
So, is depression genetic? The answer is yes and no. “Yes” because genes have been linked to depression, and “no” because the gene doesn’t mean you’ll become depressed.
Doctors and researchers can’t pinpoint the exact cause of depression. This mental illness affecting 300 million people around the world is highly complex. Several factors contribute to your likelihood of developing depression, including those listed above and your unique genetic code.
But before you go blaming your grandmother for “giving you depression,” it’s important to know that just because there is a history of depression in your family doesn’t mean you’ll definitely become depressed. Sure, there is a greater likelihood you will, thanks to inherited depression, but it’s not definite.
And on the flip side, it’s possible for you to develop depression if there’s no family history.
Here are some things to consider when referring to genetics and depression.
- First-Degree Relatives
Some studies show an increased predisposition to depression if you have a first-degree relative with the mental illness. In other words, if your parents, a child, or brother or sister have been diagnosed with depression, you’re more likely to develop it too.
- There’s No Specific “Depression Gene”
While genetics do play a factor in depression, there isn’t one “depression gene” doctors can test you for to determine your predisposition to the disease. Like anything hereditary, the genes surrounding depression are complex.
Rather than referring to inherited genetics as the result of one distinctive gene, it’s more likely your depression is linked to genetic variants. Scientists believe the genes’ variants play a role in your susceptibility to depression.
Because genetics and hereditary traits are incredibly complex in nature, everyone’s genetic makeup and gene variants are different. That’s why it’s challenging to determine whether or not your specific genes will result in the development of depression.
- Your Genes Could Also Determine Your Depression Treatment
If you have family members who’ve undergone depression treatment, talk to them about what made up their treatment program, what worked well, and what didn’t. Just as depression itself can depend on your genetic makeup, so can the effectiveness of certain therapy types and medications.
It’s still important to note, however, that just because something did or didn’t work well for a family member doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll have the same effect on you. It may just be a good guide for your therapist or medication management professional when determining your course of depression treatment.
Finding the Best Depression Treatment in San Diego
Whether you inherited depression or are experiencing depression symptoms due to your environment, seeking professional help and guidance is your next step. Trying to “shake off” your feelings of depression by yourself is a highly challenging task. And if you’re experiencing severe clinical depression, you don’t want to wait to secure depression treatment in San Diego.
We know you have options when it comes to choosing a mental health professional in America’s Finest City. But you don’t want a depression treatment in San Diego that will treat your symptoms and send you on your way. You want highly-skilled, compassionate, understanding clinicians you can trust.
You need BOLD Health.
We offer top-of-the-line depression treatment using science-backed treatments in a physician-founded facility. We’ll provide customized treatment tailored specifically to your needs with an extensive team of qualified therapists, nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists.
Your depression treatment in San Diego will consist of one or more of the following:
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- family therapy
- medication management
- intensive outpatient program (IOP in San Diego)
Many of our clients coming to us for depression treatment opt for our incredibly effective IOP in San Diego. This outpatient program provides you with the intense treatment and structure of an inpatient program but with the convenience of outpatient therapy.
It doesn’t matter if your depression is caused by genetics, environmental factors, or a combination. Our IOP in San Diego is guaranteed to get you feeling more like yourself, so you can live a more fulfilling, enjoyable life.
Contact us to learn more about our options for depression treatment, including our IOP in San Diego. Inherited depression or not, there’s hope for a more comfortable and rewarding future with our help.