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Genetic Disorders That Affect Mood and Mental Health

Maybe your father, mother, brother, sister, or another family member suffers from mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and clinical depression. Have you ever wondered if you have a predisposition to developing these illnesses because of genetic similarities? In this article, we will explore whether or not genetic disorders can cause mood disorders and affect mental health. 

Is Depression Genetic? 

As it turns out, yes depression can be genetic. This does not mean that you are doomed to suffer from depression if your family members have depression. However, it can mean that you have a greater chance of suffering from depression at some point in life. The type of depression that family members suffer from also has an influence on whether it is hereditary. Clinical depression is said to be most likely to be shared by siblings and/or children. It is theorised that chromosome 3p25-26 could be linked to depression as studies show that it was present in 800 families who suffered from recurring depression. 

However, it should be mentioned that one’s environment also plays a large part in whether or not one suffers from depression. Studies show that 40% of those suffering from depression can link their depression to genetics while 60% of depression is caused by environmental factors. 

Is Bipolar Genetic? 

Yes, unfortunately bipolar disease is about 80% heritable. This means that the genetic component is very high. There are many genetic variants that come together to increase the chances of getting this disorder. For one, the ANK3 gene has a strong association. Other genetic factors that increase the risk include a family history of mental illness, such as depression and schizophrenia. 

Additionally, some research suggests that lifestyle and environmental influences, such as stressful life events or substance abuse, may act as triggers for bipolar disorder in those genetically predisposed to it.

Who is Most Likely to Get Bipolar Disorder?

One can develop bipolar disorder at any stage in one’s life; however, most cases tend to develop at around the age of 25. There are many factors that can trigger the development of this disorder including but not limited to:

  • Stressful Situations: This can include the deterioration of a relationship, physical and/or emotional abuse, the death of a loved one, or even financial problems and multiple other small stresses that build up over time. 
  • Physical Triggers: There are certain physical factors that can trigger the disorder. Some of these consist of extreme sleep disturbances and physical illness.

While many will not develop bipolar disorder when faced with these issues, those with a genetic predisposition to the disorder will more easily be affected by these occurrences. 

Testing for Genetic Disorders That Affect Mood

If you are worried about developing depression or bipolar disorder because other family members suffer from these illnesses, then you can have yourself tested. A genetic test will be able to identify whether you have a genetic predisposition to these illnesses and help you better manage your life to prevent the development of depression and bipolar disorder. 

Geneway has an at-home genetic test that can test for genetic disorders that affect mood and mental health. Contact us to find out more! 

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