Do I Have a Genetic Predisposition for Depression?

TMS Towson Experts Examine the Genetic Cause Behind Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that can disrupt your everyday routine. People with depression typically experience symptoms like long-lasting sadness, anxiety, and social withdrawal. There isn’t a clear cause behind depression, but a number of factors can increase your risk of developing it. 

Some people theorize that depression is hereditary. For instance, if you have a family member who suffers from depression, you have a higher chance of developing it than someone who doesn’t. 

TMS Towson explores the genetic link connected to clinical depression and whether or not you could be vulnerable to developing the illness in its latest article.

Depression and Genetics

TMS experts explore the link between depression and a family history of mental illness

teenager mental health counseling

Numerous studies have pointed toward the theory that clinical depression might run in the family. Researchers in the past have studied twins to determine whether or not an illness has a genetic cause behind it. 

For instance, if a researcher finds out that one twin has depression, they then must find out whether or not their identical twin also suffers from the same condition. If genes do play a significant role in developing depression, then their identical twin would have a much higher chance of developing depression than a non-identical twin. Researchers have found that genetics does indeed play a strong role in whether or not one will suffer from depression, as heritability for the illness is around 40% to 50%.

However, we still don’t know whether genetics only plays a partial role in developing depression or can either play no role at all or a complete role in someone’s chances of suffering from it. 

Common Symptoms of Depression

Researchers still have a lot to learn about the genetic basis of depression. If you have a family member who suffers from depression, you are at risk of developing it yourself. That doesn’t necessarily mean you are definitely going to have it at some point in your life. However, it can be helpful to educate yourself on best practices for taking care of your mental health and also remaining alert for any signs of depression including:

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Having trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • A loss of energy

Risk Factors for Depression

Factors other than genetics can increase your risk of developing depression

person resting head on knees

While genetics does play a role in whether or not someone develops depression, it is not the only factor that can cause it. Trauma, substance abuse, and chronic illness can also leave someone vulnerable to developing depression. 


Experiencing a traumatic life event or prolonged abuse over time can cause someone to develop depression. Examples may include domestic violence or a sudden job loss. 

Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse can coincide with depression, leaving someone to deal with a co-occurring disorder. Sometimes people develop a substance use disorder as a result of their depression. Other times, people have a substance use disorder after attempting to self-medicate for their depression. 

Chronic Illness

Dealing with a serious medical illness can be extremely draining on your mental health. If you are dealing with chronic pain or long-term management for an illness, this could lead to depression. 

Treatment Options for Clinical Depression

TMS Towson experts examine different treatment options available to help manage your depression


Treatment for depression typically includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. In some cases, however, brain stimulation therapy might be necessary. Some patients also require residential treatment if they find they cannot take care of themselves or they present a danger to themselves. 

The final treatment plan typically boils down to the unique issues and needs the patient has. That’s why it is crucial to schedule a consultation with your primary care physician or a psychologist to begin building a comprehensive treatment plan for your depression.


Some common medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Side effects such as dry mouth and indigestion can sometimes occur when taking these medications. However, most anti-depressants are safe to use.

Psychotherapy and Mental Health Counseling

Psychotherapy is typically prescribed to help people talk through their issues and identify unhealthy thinking patterns that can worsen their depression. Common types of psychotherapy include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). 

Brain Stimulation Therapy

In some cases, brain stimulation therapy might be necessary. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) might be recommended for patients with treatment-resistant depression. 

During ECT, a patient receives electrical currents in the brain to help relieve their symptoms. TMS also involves the stimulation of the brain. During an appointment for TMS, a healthcare professional places a coil against the patient’s scalp. This coil then sends magnetic pulses to stimulate different nerve cells in the brain responsible for mood regulation. 

Have you been struggling with symptoms of depression lately? It might be time to reach out for help. Living with depression can be difficult, but it is treatable. Contact TMS Towson healthcare providers, the Psych Associates of Maryland, today to schedule an appointment.


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