Is Depression Hereditary?

Experts largely agree that the origins of depression could be caused by a mixture of genetic and other reasons such as stress, and that our genes help determine the likelihood of depression.

The hormone serotonin serves a crucial role within our brain chemistry. The level of serotonin within the brain has a major affect on our emotions, thinking and behavior. Given that anti depressants modify the amount of serotonin within the brain, it’s always been thought that the hormone plays a part in the forming of mental illness. As a result, the level of serotonin which your body makes and keeps seems to be vital in the struggle against depression. Since the TPH2 gene is a key part in controlling the serotonin level, experts believe that TPH2 plays a part in the development of psychiatric disorders.

A 2001 analysis of 54 studies dating from 2001 to 2010 and involving almost 41,000 participants has confirmed the serotonin gene’s association with depression.

The analysis found that a person’s genetic makeup does matter in how she or he reacts to stress and supports earlier findings that people who had a less functional short allele on a certain area of the serotonin gene had a more difficult time recovering from trauma compared to those with long alleles.

Scientists have also been looking at the function of TPH2 in the development of manic depression and depression. In order to help clarify if depression is hereditary, they’ve compared the genetic variations among people with depression and healthy people, and they’ve shown that TPH2 is involved in the development of manic depression and depression.

How to Fight Depression Without the Pills Infographic

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References: doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.10.1103, doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.189