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Understanding Genetics & How It Impacts Mental Health

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Today, the conversation about mental health is more prevalent than ever before, thanks to a multitude of awareness campaigns and efforts to spread the word about the importance of taking care of your mind and mental well-being.

Not all mental health disorders are caused by environmental factors or past experiences, such as trauma. There are genetic factors at play too and in this blog from Bayless Integrated Healthcare, we’ll discuss how genetics may impact mental wellbeing.

Diagnosing the cause of any particular mental health disorder is difficult. Every person is different, and every mind is different. But there is strong clinical evidence that shows that mental illnesses are caused by a combination of both environmental and genetic factors.

Specific genes may raise the risk of developing a particular mental health disorder, particularly when other environmental factors are present that may contribute to the issue. For example, scientists believe that more than 40% of all people experiencing depression may be able to attribute it to genetic factors.

This is also why people with parents and siblings who have mental illnesses or disorders often have a higher risk of developing the same mental health issue or a similar illness. 

Types of Mental Health Disorders That Can Be Genetic

While genetics may be a factor in the development of many types of mental health disorders, a recent analysis of existing studies showed that there were five disorders, in particular, that were associated with genetic factors.

Depression – Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), commonly referred to as depression, likely has some kind of genetic basis. Those with family members who have had depression are 2-3x more likely to develop this mental health disorder.

Autism – Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is thought to be primarily genetic in nature. As early as the 1970s, researchers found that twins often shared the condition, and up to 90% of the differences between autistic and non-autistic individuals could be traced to genetics.

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects 4.4% of adults, and about 8.8% of children. ADHD tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic basis for the condition. Research has shown that parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are much more likely to have the condition themselves.

Schizophrenia – The inheritance pattern for schizophrenia is unknown, but relatives of individuals who have schizophrenia do show a higher risk of developing it themselves. Scientists currently think that a number of different genes – rather than one gene – contributes to the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Bipolar disorder – Genetic factors are thought to account for 60-80% of the causes of bipolar disorder. Those who are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder may develop it when exposed to certain psychological and environmental factors.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Mental Health Disorder?

If you have concerns about your mental wellbeing, Bayless is here to help. We recommend that you avoid “self-diagnosing.” Doing your own research and diagnosing yourself often causes more harm than good.

If you need help, we’re here for you. We offer a wide range of emotional and behavioral health services, including psychiatry evaluations, medication, counseling, and much more. You can trust us to take great care of you and provide you with the help you need.

Get The Help You Need In Phoenix From Bayless Integrated Healthcare

At Bayless, we focus on your overall wellness – and serve the needs of both your body and mind. If you need help, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment today to explore our mental health services in more detail, discuss your condition with a doctor, and take the first steps toward a brighter future.

Disclaimer: If you have a family member with a mental health diagnosis that you will develop one too. If you have questions or would like to speak to a mental health professional, please do not hesitate to reach out.