Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is depression hereditary?"
I am a 28 year old male. Could I have inheritted my depression from my father. He used to be depressed to.
Depression is a common condition. Unfortunately, it often requires treatment as there can be severe and limiting interference to the normal healthy life that one might otherwise have. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. If helpful or needed, he or she may refer you to a psychiatrist -- a mental health specialist. To answer you question -- YES -- depression is hereditary. We know that people with parents who have depression are more likely to have depression. While this alone could be caused by living in the same environment, there are studies of identical twins separated at birth that show that there are likely genes that cause depression as opposed to just a common environment. We believe that this is caused by the genes that predispose someone to having a imbalance of chemical neurotransmitters. We know that people with depression have less neurotransmitters like serotonin or norepineherine in their brain. This is the reason that medicines like Prozac and Paxil work -- they increase the levels of these levels in the brain. Yes -- depression is hereditary. But regardless of cause, there are many available treatments. See your doctor. If you ever have thoughts of committing suicide or hurting yourself or someone else you must urgently go to the emergency room.
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