Is depression genetic? I sure as hell didn’t believe it was.
As some of you would know, I am not someone who likes the easy way out.
I don’t believe that anything meaningful will come to you without effort.
Life isn’t built around easy things, it takes us great effort to get results.
If it didn’t then we all would have been successful by now.
I even talked about the subject in my article about life lessons from video games.
Do you get my point yet?
Once I got into that kind of mindset I was impossible to deter.
I worked a lot on my own mindset and environment, controlling them as much as I could.
Yet despite all of that, I wasn’t getting any better.
At the time I thought that I wasn’t doing good enough a job, and it showed in my thoughts.
I started feeling as though I was worthless, I felt guilty about my inability to improve my condition.
As if I wasn’t trying hard enough.
It was my fault, after all, it would have been easier to blame the environment but I chose not to.
It would have stayed that way, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that I discovered that my mom had depression too when she was younger.
At first, I paid no attention to this fact. I had my own problems to deal with and I wanted nothing to do with someone’s past problems, even if they were my mother’s.
Yet time went be and eventually I couldn’t help but consider it.
Could, at least some of my problems, by due me being born this way?
Sure, genetics wouldn’t have been directly responsible, but they could’ve been making me more prone to depression all along.
So I decided to look into this possibility.
Is depression genetic?
The answer to this question is surprisingly complicated.
Not only does it involve genetics but also relates to specific chemicals that cause depression.
As such, this question has a few possible answers
From a genetic standpoint
From a purely genetic standpoint, there is plenty of research to back up the way that genetics affect our mental health.
According to research, chromosome 3p25-26 is shown to directly affect recurring depression.
Researchers noticed this through observation of families with multiple depressed people in them.
To quote Dr. Gerome Breen:
“In a large number of families where two or more members have depression we found robust evidence that a region called chromosome 3p25-26 is strongly linked to the disorder. These findings are truly exciting as possibly for the first time we have found a genetic locus for depression.”
But what does this actually mean?
Well, while they weren’t able to point out the specific gene, believing it could be either one of 40, they did have the right idea.
Studies suggest that genetics factor as 40% of depression, with environmental causes being the remaining 60%.
What does it mean?
Genetics argument any specific causes of depression, making the process of getting better much more difficult for people with the wrong genes.
To put it simply, genetics make it more likely for you to experience depression by increasing the effects of environmental causes.
Situational depression, not major depression
Individuals with such genes will be feeling worse after bad experiences and are much more susceptible to negative thoughts when compared to average.
That, in and of itself, is not a cause of depression.
In fact, these negative thoughts are probably not going to last for long.
On the other hand, they are also more likely to develop a Major Depressive Disorder as well, but they will need to go through similar circumstances as others for that to happen.
They won’t develop depression over minor occurrences regardless of any specific emotions.
They are more prone to any given scenario, but they aren’t going to develop depression randomly simply because of their genetics alone.
Genetics don’t really mean much
I already hear you asking this question.
“Oh Vlad, but wait! Why do you say that they don’t mean much if they clearly do?!”
Don’t worry, I’m getting to that.
Sure, genetics can be a hindrance when it comes to a person’s mental health, but they aren’t everything.
They do not cause depression by themselves, so just having these genes is not going to have any effect.
As such, focusing on genetics is entirely pointless.
Our genetics will last us a lifetime, and there is nothing that we can do to change them.
So really, whats the point in trying
The fact that they make overcoming depression harder doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and improve your condition.
Besides, who is there to say that you can’t change your brain?
Introducing – serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter.
As such, it’s responsible for transmitting signals through different parts of your brain.
Serotonin is responsible for general emotional responses and because of that it also transmits signals that have a lot to do with depression.
Research proves this fact as well.
A recent study from Duke University, North Carolina, tells us exactly what we need to hear.
In this study, researchers matched two different groups of mice.
- The first group was made of regular mice
- The second group was made of specifically bred mice, with only 20%-40% the serotonin of regular mice. Remember this fact, we’ll be getting back to it soon
Then they proceeded to put each mouse in a cage with an unfamiliar, aggressive mouse.
The mice were closely watched over the course of multiple weeks.
These mice were put under considerable social anxiety, yet the ‘regular’ group did not exhibit any depressive symptoms over the first week, remaining perfectly fine.
The other group, the one with the serotonin-deficient mice, exhibited said symptoms over that first week.
Both groups were eventually pushed into depression, yet the results are obvious: Serotonin affects depression.
What does that actually tell us?
- Mice were specifically bred to have lower levels of serotonin, further confirming my point about genetics
- The serotonin-deficient group reacted much stronger to stress than the regular one. Despite that fact, the interactions led to the same result over time.
What does that mean? It means that not only do genetics affect depression but they also aren’t going to make your reactions more severe over time by themselves.
It takes something more extreme to knock someone into the “next level” of depression.
You can improve your condition naturally!
There are many methods that can help you overcome your depression.
Sure, your genetics might be fighting you on this one, but it is certainly a battle that you can win!
- Balance your diet with the right kind of foods
- Early morning sunlight affects your melatonin best. Its return, melatonin improves your mood and gives you better sleep
- Consider looking into B-12
- Massages are awesome for your brain, even research says so!
- Look into exercises. Running is one of the best in that regard.
- Tea is great for increasing serotonin
As you can see, genetics can only do so much.
As long as you take action and try your best to improve your condition, you are bound to get results.
It will not be easy, but it is possible.
Is depression genetic? Somewhat, but it doesn’t matter
The truth is this – depression can be affected by genetics, but it doesn’t matter.
Genetics aren’t a dominating factor in your life.
In fact, if you live a healthy lifestyle and carefully avoid stressors, the effects can be nonexistent
This is actually easier said than done. Believe me – I know.
Depression is very hard to deal with, and the last thing you need is something that works against you along the way.
Regardless of how difficult depression can be, you should not give up.
Having the odds stacked up against you doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it.
Because you can.
Taking action is the first step to getting better.
There are many actionable steps that you can take to insure that your brain becomes healthier over time.
My recommendations would be to check out the Destroy Depression System.
It is a great guide on how to overcome your depression through effort, without any medication.
You should definitely check it out!
Before you go, though, I do have a quick question I would love you to think about – Do you have any family members who suffer from depression?
More than one question, but I would really like you to elaborate on that one.
Speaking of which, make sure to write your answer in the comment section below – I read every single one of them!
If you have any personal questions you would like to ask me then make sure to send me an email.
I reply to all of my emails as soon as possible, and yours isn’t going to be any different.