Do Genes Play a Role in Depression?
You don't actually inherit depression, but you may inherit genes that predispose you to the condition. Here is what you should know. Yes, depression does have a genetic component.
- As a first observation, depression runs in families.
- For many years, that would have been sufficient evidence for some people that there is a genetic link, but this conclusion is undone by the fact that not only do genes run in families, environment does as well!
- Growing up in a poor family, or an abusive family, can all increase the risk of depression running through that family without genes having anything to do with it.
- Now, looking at a closer relationship, the more closely related two individuals are, the more genes they share in common and, as it turns out, the more likely they are to share a depressive trait.
- However, when looking at the environment component, and in defining the word “environment” it does not just begin at birth, but begins much earlier, with the circulatory environment shared in utero with one’s biological mother. Thus, reiterating the roles of genes versus environment in depression.
Well, as some say, “If only we could pick our parents and our environment growing up!”