Is Mental Illness Genetic?

If someones in your family are suffering from mental illness, you might also be afraid of developing a similar condition. On the other hand, if you are victimized by mental illness, you don’t want your children to have the same situation. 

To comprehend whether mental illness runs in your blood or not, you need to go through your family history. Unfortunately, genetics is one of the contributing factors to mental illness. 

However, it is not mandatory that if one of your relatives has any mental illness, you will go through the same. The role of genetics in mental illness is complicated. Read on if you wish to know more about genetics and its link with mental illness. 

What Is Mental Illness? 

A mental disorder or mental illness is a condition that involves improper brain functioning and outward behavior. Factors like self-perception, thinking, deviations in perception, and feeling can drive mental illness. Many times, mental illness can affect functioning problems in several areas of life. 

One of the main components of mental illness is the inability to regulate oneself. WHO or the World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Another 21 million people are schizophrenia patients, while 47.5 million have dementia.

Symptoms Of Mental Illness

Like physical health ailments, even mental illness has symptoms. Below, you can go through the most common genetic depression symptoms. 

• A feeling of numbness or a depressed mood

• Joylessness and a feeling of disinterest

• Constant feeling of emptiness

• Inability to carry out daily activities and increased fatigues 

Depression patients might often experience pain in different body parts. The most commonly physical pain is feeling pressure around the chest area. Additionally, many people might also have hypersensitivity to noise. The symptoms of depression can come along with anxiety disorders. 


We cannot fully understand what causes mental illness or whether it can affect relatives. When any physical or mental health condition is passed on in families through genetics, it is known as ‘hereditary.’ 

Many other things can trigger mental illness in individuals. Environmental factors such as a stressful life event or loneliness can be a cause of mental illness. There are both acquired susceptibilities and predispositions behind developing mental illness. 

While acquired susceptibilities are due to biological factors, Season Affective Disorder is another type of depression. Season Affective Disorder is closely associated with seasonal changes. 

Is Depression Genetic?

Depression can run in the blood, but genetics is not the only single contributing factor to mental depression. Even with twins, the case of genetic depression is not quite firm. If one of the twins is affected by mental illness, the other twin develops a mental disease in less than half of the cases. 

Moreover, if you want to find out if depression can be genetic or not, you’ve to go through the whole family history. You might never develop depression or any other mental health issue, even if anyone in your bloodline has it. 

Both environmental and genetic factors generally bind people who develop depression. The core risk factors for developing this mental condition include family history, traumatic experiences, and taking certain medications. 


The good news is that depression is a curable disease in maximum patients. The course of treatment includes drugs such as physiotherapy and antidepressants. Nowadays, many online programs have come up to aid depression treatment. 

You must know that people with mental health problems and depression are at a higher risk of catching chronic ailments such as heart disease. 

You can go through the standard drugs for depression below.

• Monoaminooxidase (MAO) inhibitors 

• Selective reuptake inhibitors

• Ketamine

• Antidepressant 

There are other non-drug approaches to treating mental illness. 

• Support groups

• Nutrition

• Exercise

• Meditation

• Sleep Monitoring

• Light therapy

• Sleep deprivation 


So, is mental illness genetic? The answer is both yes and no. By now, you might have a fair idea of how genetics play a role in mental illness. Before jumping to conclusions, you must know that genetics is not the sole factor contributing to mental illness. 

Family history, along with environmental stress factors, can trigger genetic depression symptoms. If genetic depression worries you, you can get a gene test performed to better understand your bloodline. 

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