Depression and Genetics – It is Hereditary

If you believe depression cannot have a genetic link, then you are wrong. Regarding depression and genetics, scientists believe that as many as 40 percent of those with depression can trace it to a genetic link. Depression can also stem from environmental causes which occurs majority of the time (60 percent), but genetics definitely play a role in some cases.

Maybe you have watched a family member such as a sibling, mother, or cousin battle through depression. It can be painfully difficult. But does this mean you will fall in the same boat?

Clinical depression or major depressive disorder is the most common form of depression. This form of depression is more likely to be shared among family members such as your siblings and children. A person is actually almost five times more likely to develop depression if they have a relative who suffers from it.

Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance

You probably have not heard about this term. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is passing down information from one generation to the next (eg. parent to child) that affects traits of the offspring without changing the actual structure of the DNA (ie. sequence of nucleotides in DNA). What does this mean?

For example, if you have had a mother or a grandmother who has suffered from depression or anxiety severely, this methylates the DNA (changes the way DNA is expressed – doesn’t change the sequence). You can inherit these methylation patterns, thereby becoming more susceptible to developing depression or anxiety because your mother or grandmother methylated their DNA and passed down this information to you.

Science has proven that parents or grandparents who have suffered from physical or sexual abuse have produced offspring that are more susceptible to developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance works back to four generations. Yes, what you’re great-grandmother went through in their life-time can have an adverse affect on your health. Fortunately, it works the opposite way as well for those with parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who have lived happily.

Can depression be treated?

Yes. Yes, it definitely can. It can be a rough, long journey but it is completely treatable and curable in my opinion. Visit my activities page for natural remedies/ways to help combat your depression. We are in this together. Whether you have developed depression genetically or environmentally, or a combination of the two, do not believe for a second you can’t be treated. Through small, simple steps we can beat this together! Also, here is my number 1 recommended product review to help combat your depression. Please give it a try as it will only make you feel better one day at a time.

Do you have depression? Does it stem genetically or environmentally? Please comment below if you have something to add or just want to talk.

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Robert Sherwood


  1. I read your natural tips to combat depression and honestly, I feel I’m depressed these days. There is a thing that troubles me when I do not get work done right or when I have not achieved my goals it really takes me to a low, how do I cure that?
    I want to stay without depression and it seems like a never ending disease.

    • It is very common. When you’re depressed and you’re not achieving your goals, you may feel like nothing is going right for you or nothing will ever go right for you. This is your mindset telling you that. Your brain is feeding you negative thoughts which is only hurting you and making the situation worse. You are in a battle with your mind when you are depressed. The thing to do is feed out all negative thoughts. Confront them and tell yourself you are worthy enough and who cares if things don’t go right, that is not the end of the world. There is always the next day and the next and your whole life ahead of you to accomplish whatever you dream of. You are capable of anything. So what if things aren’t going your way. Everyone has off days. The best thing about life is that you can try again and again until you get it right. I believe in you. Keep a healthy mindset!

  2. Wow crazy to think that depression is somewhat associated with our genes, great post I am also glad to see depression is curable something that I was not aware of.

    • Yes, it is very curable. Small, natural, and simple steps can go along way when fighting depression. You just have to put your mind to it – something that people with depression find difficult to do.

  3. Hello,
    Very good article & very good information for people. I’m glad to hear more people talking about mental illness & wellness. I live with Bipolar Disorder 1, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, OCD, & ADHD. Notice I did not say I “suffer from” these conditions? I used to suffer from them, but you are right in that mindset & lifestyle can drastically help you. Due to the combination of diagnosis & going on & off meds when I was younger, because no one told me how dangerous it was & that doing so can make you worse, I will need medication for the rest of my life. Bipolar people have a habit of stopping mes & no one knows why. I will tell you why- the feeling of being manic is the best feeling in the world! You have energy, can accomplish anything, believe in yourself, & you are also an out of control, inconsiderate jerk. I could paint & draw & write before I was medicated, that’s all gone. People don’t want to admit that you feel high as a kite when your manic & losing it sucks! You become medicated & generally feel okay or depressed. But going on & off psych meds really screws up your brain chemistry. That being said, I do not believe I need all the meds I am prescribed, but feel I need a little more time before I approach my Dr about coming off some of them. Music saved my life & continues to help me, along with meditation, exercise, a healthy diet, being outside, doing things with my daughter, playing with my puppy, keeping a journal & many other things. My life really changed when I changed my perspective. I don’t know why it took so long or what finally clicked, but one day I thought, I don’t want to die but I can’t live like this anymore & the only option is to keep living so what am I going to do? So, instead of thinking the same negative things over & over & listening to negative people, even family, I envisioned my life the way I want it to be & I started taking steps to get my life to that point. It really is that easy & hard. I started turning things around & I’m still working on it, but I’m a completely different person. I wake up everyday & think of every reason I have to be grateful, instead of everything I don’t like. I have & am changing my destiny through my thoughts. Your thoughts become your words, which become your actions, which becomes your destiny. I do not believe certain chemical imbalances can be cured, but not everyone with depression has the same type or for the same reasons. If there is a reason & you can figure it out, you can be helped & cured with no meds. If you don’t know why you can’t function & want to die when you should be & want to be happy, you should go see someone & get counseling & meds, but you may not always need meds. Anyway, great post & I look forward to your future writing.

    • Thanks for sharing! It’s very comfort knowing there are people out there who have suffered or are suffering from mental illnesses such as those you have mentioned. Glad we can connect and I am extremely happy you have found ways to help your situation. Glad I could help.

  4. Depression is unfortunately very real and I think its also part of being human. I don’t know many people that haven’t felt the effects of depression at some point in their life. Perhaps it is a human condition. The most important thing is being open about and talking to one another. We have come a long way in terms of addressing this as a real problem, but still have a ways to go. Thanks so much for your informative site, more dialogue on this issue the better!

    • I completely agree with you. It definitely needs more discussion around the world but I am glad how far we have come. In the future, I hope we can all see mental illness as a completely normal form of sickness that can be addressed without shame or guilt as it should never be viewed as that.

  5. This is such a vital piece of information, especially in the age of rapidly increasing depression and anxiety. As a member of a family whom all suffer with the exception of myself, from ranges of depressions, Bipolar Disease, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc. I’ve often made attempts to validate how they would feel as their feelings shifted, offered an ear when needed, and new when to keep my distance. I’ve also feared passing these genes down to children of my own. I so believe that information to help those suffering and those supporting those who suffer is so essential to how our society moves forward from here on.

    Thank you for the great information!

    • Glad I could help. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very important to always provide support when needed but also to allow distance when it is appropriate. I am sure you will make a difference in your children’s lives with a bright, positive impact even if they do or do not develop a mental illness you mentioned.

  6. Hey 🙂 Thanks for this… I have bipolar disorder; so I experience a lot of depressive episodes. I’ve been treated with medications for over 5 years, and for the most part – things have worked. But I’m at the point where I’d like to have kids (in the near future).

    I know I have to be “off” the prescriptions before pregnancy… so I am considering adoption. I see the kinds of stresses I put my own mother through with mental illness…. and I can’t imagine having that happen to me. I guess I’m afraid of passing it down to my own child. Do you think adoption would be the best option?

    • Hey there,

      That is very interesting. I am not completely familiar with bipolar disorder but I will give you my insight. I think with you on medications as you said for the last 5 years have helped which is good. I think with any mental illness, you can slowly start to cure by taking slow, natural steps such as exercising a bit a day or even meditation I think would help in this case. Either way, I don’t think it’s necessary to be on meds your entire life. I don’t want to come across as pushy because I don’t know your whole situation but maybe try getting your doctor to lower your dose and through time keep lowering it until you don’t take them anymore. This will help with side-effects as well as getting back into your natural self easily. Maybe see how it turns out. If you think you absolutely need the meds, then yes I would agree adoption is the best case. However, if you find that you can beat your bipolar disorder naturally (which I believe in you and I believe you can) then I would say having kids isn’t a bad idea. Even if you’re kids do end up inheriting a mental illness or developing one environmentally, you are a very strong resource being experienced and all to get them through it. Hope that helps.

  7. Thank you for bringing awareness to mental illnesses. My grandmother lost her battle with depression in the 70s. I too have struggled with depression most of my life. I am happy to say that for the time being I am cured! I still have anxiety, but only when I don’t get enough sleep! I agree having the right mindset helps, but medication is what finally got me over the hump!

    • I am glad I could help! Some people find that medication does work when they can get through the first couple weeks and side-effects. Glad it worked out for you. Take care.

  8. I did not realized that depression can be genetically linked from parents to child. I am glad that none of my family had severe signs of depression before although I do had quite a difficult time during my setbacks and depressing thoughts do come across my mind. I like to use natural products such as peppermint tea or having chocolate on days that I do not feel emotionally well. Mediation and yoga helps tons too!

    • Hey Leo. Yes those are great remedies. Sometimes, I enjoy a nice cup of tea. It really soothes my mind and puts me in a state of relaxation. Meditation and yoga are also great remedies as they not only help the body state, but the mind state also. They are forms of relaxation and distraction, both which help elevate mood and brain function.

  9. I have always wondered about this, as it has felt like I’m the only one in my family with mental health issues. I found out after years of my own issues that others in my family have had depression, so maybe there is a link.

    • Great, glad I could be informative Laurel. There definitely can be a genetic link between family members who have suffered through mental illnesses.

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