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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Is depression hereditary?


 lulu93 - Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:48 pm

My mum suffers from depression. will i suffer form it? All sites are vague on it and unsure.please clear it up for me.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:34 pm

User avatar Hello,
We know that genetics play a definite role in health matters, including mental health. It is believed that much of the genetic part is a predisposition to disease which means you might be more susceptible than someone without a family history of this, but there is no way to predict which persons will "inherit" this predisposition and which will never have symptoms in spite of the genetic makeup.

It is good to be aware because with a family history of the problem, you will be alert to early symptoms and not discount them. Early treatment often results in very good results so this is a positive thing for you. There are even some protective measures you can take such as improving your nutrition and diet, getting outside daily for a little exercise (walking is great) because of the seratonin levels that are naturally improved with this activity, along with light so daytime walks are ideal. If you feel like you are sad, feeling down, hopeless, etc. you should discuss this and your family history with your doctor. There are many safe and effective antidepressant drugs that can help your symptoms should they occur.

Try not to dwell on the fact you might develop depression since your thought patterns can also affect your brain chemistry. I would recommend seeing a therapist if possible about your concerns so you can talk through them and learn some skills as well as warning signs. There are also websites that include symptom checkers for help in determining if you are suffering from depression.

It is commendable that you want to take charge of your health.
Best wishes.

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