Is Mental Illness Genetic?

Genetically Programmed To Experience Mental Illness

Researchers are in the process of learning more about how genetics play a role in the development of mental illness. We already know that many mental illnesses are genetically tied: major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and many more.

But we do not know how or why genes play such a large role in the development of mental illness. It most likely relies on similar reasoning as to why physical disorders are tied to genetics: a manifested disorder modifies the genetic code of the parent and the parent passes those modified genes onto his or her offspring.

Many argue that the future of medicine lies in the field of genetics. DNA is the carrier of genetic information: units of heredity which are transferred from parent to offspring and are held to determine some characteristic or trait of the offspring. When someone tells you “you resemble your dad or you have his temperament”, they are indirectly addressing your genetic makeup.

This does not mean that we are doomed because genetics is tied to mental illness. On the contrary, researchers are very optimistic to learn more about this subject in order to attempt to identify the exact genes responsible for various mental illnesses. With identification of the exact genes, the goal becomes to study them and see if there is any way that future generations can avoid them.

It’s believed that genes will provide us with the information necessary to learn more about how to treat mental illness. As of today, there is no cure for any mental illness; only prevention and treatment are available. But a mental illness most likely develops from environmental factors and possibly faulty genes. It’s these genes and its influence on the human mind that we are trying to learn more about.

Some genes that are tied to mental illnesses or physical disorders are responsible for the malfunctioning of certain enzymes in the human body. With the replacement of those enzymes, theoretically, we have a chance of better treating a mental illness. Therefore, genes may provide us with more information on the pathophysiology of mental disorders.

Genes may contain our genetic makeup but do not contain our soul!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)


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