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Is Depression Hereditary?


When talking about sicknesses (whether physical or mental), one factor that is often considered as a possible cause is genetics.

Depression is a very common mental disorder that anyone can fall prey to at any time in their lives. Sadly, a person’s genes can sometimes play a vital role regarding how high the chances are of someone getting depressed. This however is not all there is to this.

If a member of a person’s family has depression, then they are more susceptible to the condition. This, however, does not mean that you will definitely get it too. Likewise, a person can also develop this condition regardless of whether a member of their family does or not.

In this article, we will further investigate the big question “is depression hereditary?” by considering what research has to say about it, among other things.

What Research Says

Signs that genetics may be one reason for this mental condition were seen in research done on twins. Fraternal twins both have just ½ of the same genes set but, identical twins are known to have the exact genes set. Upon research, it was discovered that if one of the identical twins gets depression, the second twin most likely would too. However, the chances of this happening with fraternal twins are not so high.

Therefore, this points to the fact that this condition could be associated with some genes, thereby, making the condition hereditary. However, the gene responsible for this has not been discovered, making it difficult to clearly explain how the condition is passed down to individuals through their genes.

The genetic combinations from people’s parents may influence the likelihood of them getting depressed at some point in their life. Sadly, doctors do not know for sure the exact gene or genes groups that cause the condition.

How to Know If Your Family is Genetically Linked to Depression

There is no sure way of knowing if this condition runs in a family or not. However, one factor that could be an indication of this is age. If a member of your family starts to show signs of depression before they become 20 years old, then other members of the family most likely might too. Typically, the younger a person is at the time they get the condition, the higher the chances are that it is hereditary.

This does not mean that it is only genetic when young people develop it as older people in the family may also develop it and it will also be genetic. However, when people develop this condition when they get older, it is due to traumatic life events. You can click here to learn how to cope with traumatic life events.

Also, the tendency of you getting depressed is linked to the closeness of your relationship to the person that has it. What we mean is, if a distant relative has this condition, you will not develop it too. But, when a closer relative like your sibling (the chances are higher with twins) or parent has it, then the tendency of you developing it becomes higher because of how closely related you are to them.

Signs to Watch Out For

If you believe that your family is genetically predisposed to this mental disorder, then it would be wise to watch out for the symptoms in yourself. Looking out for these signs will let you know if you are developing the disorder on time so you can get the necessary help as soon as possible.

Some basic symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Anger or crankiness
  • Losing interest in things you used to like doing
  • Careless behavior
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Not always having energy
  • Having issues focusing

When to Speak to Your Doctor

You need to tell your doctor if your family is predisposed to this condition. Also, once you have any of the above symptoms for at least two weeks, you have to speak to your doctor so that a diagnosis can be done.

Telling your doctor before you even develop any symptom is great because then they would figure out ways to help you. Now, there is no clear-cut path to preventing this disorder. However, you can cut down your stress levels via some proven methods and your doctor can help you with this. Visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/ to learn how to manage your stress.

It also does not matter whether this disorder is in your family or not because as we earlier said, an individual can develop it even when it does not run in their family. So, taking care of your mental health always is very important.


Depression is a common mental disorder that research has found might be linked to genetics. This means that this disorder can sometimes be hereditary, especially when a family member develops the disorder at an early age (before becoming 20). While the disorder may be hereditary in some cases, a person can still develop it even when their family is not genetically predisposed to it.