Depression is a common feeling, but it is also the term given to a disease that affects almost 10% of the population of the United States. There are varying forms of depression. Some patients have mild symptoms that don’t require medication and others utilize medication and therapy to manage the feelings on a daily basis. Depression has always been a disease I’ve fought with, but I’ve managed to maintain a medication-free lifestyle. When my mother committed suicide, my thoughts immediately turned to genetics. If my mom was depressed and I suffer from depression, will my children also face the plight of depression?
Genetics or Predisposition
Genetic diseases can be passed on from parents to children. There are specific genes that control these diseases and those genes cause disease in a predetermined percentage of offspring. There is a mathematical certainty, of sorts, to genetic disease, but depression is not as predictable.
If you have family members who’ve suffered from depression, there is a greater likelihood you and your children could suffer from some form of depression. But remember, your children only inherit 50% of their traits from you. The other 50% comes from your partner. If there is no depression on your partner’s side of the family, the likelihood lessens. If your mother or father suffered depression and you are depression free and so is your partner, the likelihood is even smaller.
Environment and lifestyle factors also come into play. Two people with the same set of genes raised in two completely different lifestyles or environments may turn out completely different. There are even differences between fraternal and identical twins with the same set of parents raised in the same environment.
Depression, no matter how common the condition, feeling or disease, comes with a stigma – both personal and social. You are likely to fight with that personal stigma or fear at some point in your reproductive life if you are a family member suffers from depression. Just remember, depression is not passed from parent to child on a gene.