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Can Depression Be Hereditary

Can Depression Be Hereditary

There are a lot of opinions about depression common in society. Some believe depression is caused only by genetic factors. Others will argue that life circumstances cause depression. If you are in the midst of depression, you may simply want a treatment to help you overcome the overwhelming feelings of sadness you are experiencing.

Understanding what causes depression can help address and overcome its root causes. The truth is that depression is a complicated condition caused by many risk factors, but identifying and addressing these factors can put you on the path to mental wellness.

What is Depression?

Depression is a common mood disorder. It affects millions of people every year. The bluegrass state has the 9th highest rate of depression in the United States. Depression impacts a person’s health, causing symptoms such as reduced appetite, restless sleep, and reduced emotional well-being. Depression is not just a " bad mood”; a person can not simply “get over it” if they are depressed. It is a severe mental health condition that requires attention.

Some people have difficulty differentiating between sadness and depression. A way to distinguish between the two is that depression is persistent sadness that goes on for an extended amount of time. Some indicators that you may have depression are:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that once brought happiness or pleasure
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Lack of energy
  • Fluctuations in appetite and weight
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Unexplained physical problems

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, it is time to consider treatment for depression.

Risk Factors For Depression

Depression is a complex condition. Many risk factors can contribute to a person developing depression. While there is no one clear cause, research has determined a few factors to watch for.


It is common for people who have experienced abuse to struggle with depression. Abuse is traumatic, and it can be difficult to process alone. Because of this, experiencing abuse at any point in your life can make you more susceptible to developing depression. Even if the abuse was in your distant past, it could be a root cause of your depression today.


It is common for people to experience depression as they grow older. This is in part due to loneliness. As a person ages, they lose more of the people they were once close to and may find themselves physically distant from others. Therefore, it is vital that as you age, you cultivate a robust support system for your mental wellness.


Conflict can be one of the causes of depression. For example, when a person finds themselves at odds with those with whom they have a significant relationship, it can cause tremendous stress. Over time if this conflict continues, it can become a contributing factor to a person experiencing depression.


People often experience depression while they are grieving the loss of a loved one. During this time, a grieving person might describe their loss as a void that can’t be filled. Over time, we typically learn to accept the loss of a loved one and move forward while holding their memory in high regard. However, it is possible to experience depression related to grief. A person may need help navigating their grief and finding a healthy resolution.

Major Events

The risk of depression increases every time we experience a major life event. This is because change brings a great deal of stress to life. Even positive changes such as a new relationship or a promotion at work can be risk factors for depression due to the amount of pressure they can produce.

Substance Use

Illicit substance use is a risk factor for depression. In addition, people who struggle with substance use disorder report increased instances of mental health conditions. In the short term, substance use can reduce symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions, but over the long term, it contributes to these conditions.

The Genetic Component

Alongside these other factors, there does seem to be a genetic component related to depression. There is no evidence of a single gene that causes clinical depression. However, several genetic factors may interact with the environment and make some people more susceptible to depression.

According to Sanford Medicine, a family history of depression increases a person’s risk of depression by 20-30%. This is evidence that a genetic component does play a factor in a person’s development of depression. However, there is no evidence that depression is caused by a person’s genes, only that it is one risk factor among many. Even if you have a family history of depression, treatments can help you manage your depression and achieve mental wellness.

Depression Treatment at SUN

SUN Behavioral Kentucky is prepared to offer treatment for depression and other mental health conditions. We know that regardless of a person’s family history or the trauma in their past, working with a therapist can help you manage your depression through education, coping strategies, and personal insight. No one is destined to experience daily depression. Contact us today at 859-429-5188 to learn more about our techniques for helping you overcome your mental health struggles!


FAQs Can Depression Be Hereditary

Is Depression Hereditary?

A family history of depression is one risk factor among many in developing depression. If your close relatives experience depression, you are at a higher risk for depression. It does not mean that you are guaranteed to get depression or that your depression is untreatable. Many successful treatments for depression exist that allow people to achieve mental wellness.

What Kind of Depression is Hereditary?

There is no type of depression that is hereditary. Genetic factors can sometimes play a role in the development of depression, but genetics alone do not determine a person’s mental health.

Is Depression Usually Hereditary?

Many risk factors cause depression. For example, someone going through a relationship ending may be stressed out. The end of that relationship may mean the end of a significant amount of emotional support. A person in this scenario may feel alone and start to feel depressed. Depression in this scenario, and many others,  can happen regardless of genetic factors.

Is Depression and Anxiety Hereditary?

Genetic factors can play a small role in developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. However, genetics is only one factor contributing to a person’s mental health. Experiencing trauma, substance use, and grief are three other factors that can be at the root of a person developing a mental health condition.

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