11-10 Understanding environmental and genetic underpinnings of depression

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Understanding environmental and genetic underpinnings of depression

In today’s times, maintaining a sound state of mind amidst all the challenges is not only difficult but also inconceivable for many. The overall magnitude of depression can be understood by going through different statistics suggesting that around 43.8 million (18.5 percent) Americans are struggling with some kind of mental disorder in a particular year.

The transition from childhood to adolescence involves various changes in one’s body and mind. Besides biological and physical changes, stress related to peer pressure, academic burden, etc. play a crucial role in exacerbating one’s mental conditions. At the same time, the increased burden of the above-mentioned stress heightens the risk of abusing substances that can flare up tormenting mental disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. The early exposure to depression increases the risk of having depressive symptoms even during adulthood. Thus, genetic factors and environmental factors are strongly involved in the onset of mental disorders.

Environmental and neurological risk factors of depression

Being the front-runner among all other mental issues, depression has wrecked the lives of millions of people.  The overall well-being of one’s mental health is determined based on his or her childhood experience.

The problems like depression or anxiety often turn out to be a consequence of a number of environmental factors, such as dysfunctional family, unemployment, loneliness, childhood traumas, prolonged stress or desolation, etc. Depression is usually the precursor to a multitude of personal or socioeconomic difficulties.

The debilitating disorder of depression does not discriminate anyone, irrespective of race, religion, culture, gender or age. However, certain drugs used for treating chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, etc. tend to interact with certain regions of the brain responsible for inducing pleasure or happiness, such as amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus. A number of studies have revealed that the size of hippocampus is smaller in people going through depression. Moreover, depression causes an imbalance of brain chemicals and affects neurons in the brain.

As a result of the low levels of neurotransmitters, people’s vulnerability to depression increases. Lastly, people possessing obsessive  or melancholic personality are also susceptible to depression.

Genetic factors responsible for the onset of depression

Numerous studies have tried to determine the biological underpinnings of depression. A large number of studies have highlighted the heritability nature of major depression. When an immediate family member like parents, children or siblings suffers from depression, the rate of developing depressive symptoms increase by manifold due to the familial vulnerability.

Moreover, a number of twin studies have highlighted that depression becomes heritable from childhood (zero to low heritability) to late adolescence (modest heritability, around 30 to 50 percent). These reports illustrated that genetics has a role in the onset of depression.

Some of the authors who studied the postmortem brains of patients with depression and animal models of depression have suspected ATP-binding cassette sub-family B member 1 (ABCB1), histone deacetylase (HDAC6), a promoter region related to serotonin transporter gene transcription (5-TT LPR), neuritin and disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) as the candidate genes for depression.

In mice who were deficient in melanoma-associated antigen D1 (MAGE-D1), a member of the family of melanoma-associated antigens, certain depression-like symptoms were observed. Some of behavioral changes witnessed include increased fatigue, restricted psychomotor abilities, diminished socialness, diminished motivation and diminished cravings..

Avoid depressive symptoms by strengthening resistance to stress

With improved medication and other evidence-based treatments, patients can effectively come out from the menace of depression. Since the interaction between genetics and environmental factors determine the susceptibility to depression, depressive symptoms cannot be undermined as an occasional negative thinking witnessed during stressful events. It is necessary to be aware of the warning signs to ensure effective treatment.

If you are looking for a treatment center that provides complete care for depression, contact the Depression Treatment Centers of California for details of the best depression centers in California. You can also call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 to know about the best depression treatment facilities in California. Alternatively, you can chat online with our executives to seek guidance about the depression rehab centers in California where patients are treated using a comprehensive approach.


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