The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance reports that roughly 14.8-million American adults suffer from depression. Although it is a mental illness that can occur on its own, depression has also been linked to those suffering from another medical illness such as cancer, stroke and diabetes.
Among the elderly depression is quite prevalent, but a lack of knowledge and misdiagnosis leaves many seniors without treatment.
Over the years, many risk factors and causes of depression have emerged, from environmental factors to changes in the brain, to hormones. These factors could contribute to the onset of depression. Previously, the idea that genes might be responsible for depression has been discussed. But until recently no one knew what genes could be responsible.
We might now be one step closer to understanding the cause of depression, as researchers at the University of Oslo have uncovered a gene linked to depression.
People born with a particular gene have greater risk of depression
The research team focused their attention on a gene that controls serotonin – a neurotransmitter. Carriers of the gene respond more to negative and positive stimuli. Basically, people with this gene are more likely to develop depression because they are more sensitive to stress, which can affect serotonin levels.
Over the years, the study of mental illness has been on the rise allowing us to have a better understanding of causes as well as developing better treatments. This is just additional research to offer insight into depression. It is hoped it can aid in treatment options down the road.
Genetics and depression
It’s been shown that genes and family history play a role in depression. In studies conducted on identical twins, when one twin receives a diagnosis of depression, the chance of the other twin developing depression is 76 percent, according to studies published on the website All About Depression. Even if twins are raised apart, the likelihood of both experiencing depression is 67 percent.
The study noted that since both twins do not experience depression 100 percent of the time, other factors might come into play.
Fraternal twins have also been studied. Unlike identical twins who share the same genes, fraternal twins only share about 50 percent. Even among this group, when one fraternal twin experiences depression, 19 percent of the time the other will as well.
If genes play a role in depression, you might think you can’t do anything to prevent it. But the correlation between genes and depression is not exact. There are still areas that can be controlled to prevent the onset of depression. Here are some tips to prevent depression:
- Manage and control stress
- Have strong social support groups
- Seek help when faced with the early signs of depressions – even if symptoms of depression are mild and occur infrequently, get yourself checked out
- If you’ve previously had depression and have sought treatment, using a long-term care plan can help you avoid relapse.
These are some helpful tips to prevent depression. There are many factors that can contribute to depression and the more we learn about it, the better we can understand the exact cause. Although research continues to emerge in the area of depression, healthy lifestyle habits may slow the progression or prevent depression all together.
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