Are Mental Illnesses Genetic?
Genetics are passed down from your parents and ancestors, and they provide the blueprint for how your body and brain develop.
Genetics at the same time are also extremely complicated. There’s no single gene that determines for sure whether you will have a mental illness or not. Those who have a family member with mental illness may be slightly more likely to develop one themselves. However mental disorders are not exclusively genetic. They are caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
There has long been evidence that certain mental illnesses tend to run in families, but recent studies suggest that there are genetic factors that leave people more likely to develop these conditions. Research has shown that having variation in the CACNA1C and CACNB2 genes can leave you more likely to develop the following disorders:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression
Knowing your family history can also help you make better decisions about your lifestyle. For example, if alcohol runs in your family, it is then probably a good idea to be careful about your own drug and alcohol use.
If members of your family have been treated for mental illness, it can be useful to know which treatments have or have not worked for them, just remember that you are still an individual, and there’s no substitute for finding the treatment that works best for you.
If you have questions about mental health or if you have a loved one struggling with their mental health, we are here for you, contact us at