If you live with a mental illness, you understandably want to know its origins, even if you may have inherited it. But the answer to whether mental illness is genetic is complicated.
Studies looking at the connections between genetics and mental illness are ongoing, and much remains to be learned. Here’s what we know so far about genetics and mental illness, plus how to get the help you need to feel like yourself again if you’re diagnosed with a mental illness.
According to the research analysis of the
- environmental factors
- psychological factors
At this time, there
For example, if one or more close family members are living with a certain mental illness,
However, there are certain mental and behavioral conditions that are more likely to have a genetic component, according to the NIH.
Let’s dive into some of the mental illnesses that can have a genetic component and what to know about how genes influence these disorders.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings that alternate between mania (or hypomania) and depression. It affects
Research on the genetic origins of bipolar disorder is incomplete but continues. However, it is clear that bipolar disorder is hereditary. The risk is higher if you have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent or sibling. Some people who have first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder will be more likely to develop the disorder than others, and many people with first-degree relatives who have bipolar disorder will not develop it at all.
A 2014 study published in
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses; affects approximately
Most experts have noted that depression runs in families, and people experiencing depression may notice that a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, is also experiencing depression. Twin studies have found a
The full genetic components of depression are still being studied and are not well understood. Some of the genes thought to be involved in the development of depression are genes that regulate neurotransmitters. For example, some studies have focused on the
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses,
Anxiety disorders tend to run in families, and both environmental and genetic susceptibilities are thought to contribute to the development of these disorders. Studies of twins and close relatives have found that genetics play a role at a rate of
As in depression, the genes that influence the development of anxiety are not fully understood. Genetic association studies have found links between anxiety and certain genes, including
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that typically arises in late childhood to early adulthood and is defined as psychosis. People with schizophrenia experience hallucinations, delusions, have difficulty concentrating, and may exhibit antisocial behavior. About 1% of people experience schizophrenia.
There are some strong links between having a family member with schizophrenia and developing it. If you have a close relative with schizophrenia, your chances of developing it increase from 1% to 10%. If both parents have it, your risk increases to 50%. Of course, not everyone with a close family member who has schizophrenia will develop it.
The genetic components of schizophrenia are still being studied, and researchers don’t have a complete picture at this time. One theory is that a microdeletion on chromosome 22 (22q11) may contribute to the development of schizophrenia.
Again, genetics is just one aspect that can increase your chances of developing a particular mental illness.
Treatment for mental illnesses depends on the type you are experiencing. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help diagnose your mental illness and develop a treatment plan for you. Different types of therapies treat different mental illnesses; The most important thing is to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and safe and who takes your concerns seriously.
Click here to learn more about the best telehealth services to get the therapy you need at home.
In addition to therapy,
For some people, medications may only be needed a few times or for a limited time. Other people will need to take some form of medication for mental illness for the rest of their lives. You shouldn’t be ashamed of taking medication for mental illness – it can save many people’s lives.
While there are certainly links between genetics and mental illness, there’s still a lot we don’t know. This can be frustrating if you are searching for answers to a mental illness you experience, or wondering if you might develop a mental illness that seems to run in your family.
Experts now believe that there is likely a genetic component to most mental illnesses, even as research continues to uncover more information. But remember that just because your family has a mental illness doesn’t mean you will inherit it.
If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, there are many treatment options for you and it is possible to live a full and balanced life.